Letter to the Editor: Cuttle Will Bring Positive Change to South Orange-Maplewood Schools

Editor’s note: Steve Mershon is Campaign Manager for Shannon Cuttle.

To the Editors:

Shannon Cuttle is a born leader, organizer, and policy maker.  Because Shannon cares about our community and, more importantly, cares about every student and family’s well-being, their skills and experience in creating inclusive educational settings will be invaluable to the work the BOE needs to do.

Shannon has a long history of standing up for equity for all.  At age six, passionate about baseball, Shannon broke the glass ceiling in their local T-Ball league, fighting for gender equity despite heated opposition. In the fifth grade, Shannon led a successful student walk-out, supporting a cherished custodian, who was disciplined for spending time listening to and encouraging students.

As a school administrator, Shannon stood up for students and families personally blocking attempted ICE raids on school property.  Championing open communication and transparency in a highly diverse district, Shannon assured that school communications went out to parents in every language spoken by families in the school community. When Shannon sees a problem, they take action – effective action.

To promote best practices and policy for assuring safe, welcoming, and inclusive schools for even more students, Shannon headed to Washington DC and spearheaded the charge for the first comprehensive city-wide anti-bullying legislation and took charge as a national safe schools expert advocating for all students and families across the country.

Shannon’s national leadership reputation led Garden State Equality to recruit Shannon to head up statewide policy and anti-bullying programs, bringing Shannon to SOMA five years ago. I have known Shannon since then as Shannon has worked behind the scenes in SOMA and throughout the country to continue to advance safe and welcoming schools, best practices, and policy.  Shannon works with a quiet grace in all they do.

I have observed Shannon’s unique background, and understanding of student aspirations and potential, lead to safer schools inside and outside of the classroom.  As a passionate, caring, and responsive communicator, Shannon will work with all families and with all members of the Board to bring about positive change and educational opportunity for all of our children.

Shannon brings us their unique background as a measured yet bold policy maker and a leader that we need on the Board to move our district forward.  That’s why I’m voting for Shannon Cuttle.

Steve Mershon
Maplewood, NJ

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