Opportunities to Meet—and Question—South Orange-Maplewood Board of Ed Candidates


Coalition on Race Schools Committee Forum Oct. 9; Hilton Neighborhood Association Oct. 26.

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UPDATE: After Jeff Bennett and Anthony Mazzocchi announced a write-in campaign on October 7, two forums responded that they would not be able to participate. Per Hilton Neighborhood Association October 26 forum moderator Suzanne Ryan: “We had a special vote at our Exec Board meeting about this. Only official candidates can participate in the forum. ” Regarding the Coalition on Race (October 9) forum, Executive Director Nancy Gagnier reported, “This forum was conceived as a less formal than usual meet and greet for an uncontested election. At this late stage, it is too late to change the format of the evening. This is a public meeting, which new candidates are of course welcome to attend.”

Two community-wide forums have been announced for local residents to meet and dialogue with three candidates for South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education. (The candidates — Shayna Sackett-GableLiz Callahan and Will Meyer —  are also hosting other coffees and events; see the listing on their website here.)

Election Day is Tuesday, November 7.

“Although this election is uncontested, we believe it is important — particularly as we implement the Intentional Integration Initiative — to hear the candidates’ views on integration and racial equity in our schools,” the Schools Committee of the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition Race announced in an invitation to its 2023 Meet the BOE Candidates forum scheduled to take place on Monday, October 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Marshall School in South Orange.

The forum will include an opportunity for audience members to ask questions.

Update: Coalition on Race Executive Director Nancy Gagnier reports that the forum will be livestreamed and recorded. Stay tuned for more details. 

The Hilton Neighborhood Association will also host its annual BOE Candidates Forum at its October meeting.

“The Candidate’s night is set for October 26 at 7:30- 9:00  PM at DeHart Community Center,” HNA Forum moderator Suzanne Ryan told Village Green. “The format will be the same as the past candidates’ nights. We will ask questions of the candidates. They will not be privy to the questions beforehand. I will moderate and John Sullivan will be the time keeper.”

Ryan said that the HNA was also looking into streaming and recording options, though none have been announced yet.


There is one fully virtual option for meeting the candidates: SOMA Families – BOE Info Session, October 24,   SOMA Families is hosting the candidates for a BOE Info Session. The event, held by Zoom, will give a beginner’s guide to our Board of Education: what it does, why it’s important, and what [the candidates] want to do on the board to make a positive impact on our school system.” Find more information here.

Candidate Information

Three candidates have filed to run for South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education: Shayna Sackett-GableLiz Callahan and Will Meyer are running together on the Together We Thrive ticket.

Find out more about the candidates and other opportunities to meet them on their website: somaboe2023.com.

Terms are for three years; winning candidates will take office in January 2024.

Each year, three seats on the 9-person governing body of the South Orange-Maplewood School District are up for election.

Incumbents Johanna Wright, Elissa Malespina and Courtney Winkfield opted not to run again.


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