Election Maplewood Opinion Schools / Kids South Orange

Letter: Shannon Cuttle Brings Experienced Leadership for Sustainable Change

To the Editors:

I have been an organizational psychologist for over two decades, coaching and supporting organizations, teams and leaders to make sustainable change. I write this letter in full support of Shannon Cuttle’s candidacy for the Board of Education because their approach to and professional background in education will help our district make the sustainable change we need. As someone who has consulted to hundreds of executive teams and groups, I know how important it is to have the optimal mix of skills in its membership. The current Board is made up of members with backgrounds from the business, legal, educational and nonprofit world. Shannon brings to the Board a distinct and diverse skillset that is sorely needed – someone with a mix of education policy experience and on-the-ground educational leadership. Shannon’s vast experience in educational policy at the national and local level would fill a huge gap on the current Board. Given the transformation that is ahead for the district – new physical facilities, infrastructure changes, intentional integration plans, new curriculum and pedagogical approaches, now is the time for a candidate like Shannon.

I know first-hand how hard it is for organizations to change their culture. It is the rare leader that truly understands that culture and climate are as important as strategy to the success of any organization. Shannon’s knowledge of building trust, support and expectations of high achievement for the adults who work on behalf of students will ensure the policies implemented have a better chance of success. While culture can often be seen as a nebulous concept, Shannon is a sought after national consultant who knows how to make policies tangible so all children can excel. Without a focus on culture and climate, the upcoming changes in the district will not be sustainable. Shannon has the background, skills and leadership to ensure the culture and climate support the upcoming strategic changes and challenges that are ahead for our district.

Shannon comes to this candidacy immediately ready to serve our district. They have deep experience working in our school district as a tireless volunteer and advocate for students. Shannon is present at virtually every board meeting and has volunteered on countless district wide initiatives. It is rare to have a candidate that has deep expertise in knowing what students need, understands how a district already functions, and has the dedication to serve. Given the current national climate of division in our country, there is a need for local elected officials to bring our community together. Shannon Cuttle will no doubt be that kind of official.

Gail Greenstein, Ed.D


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