Election Maplewood Schools / Kids South Orange

Who’s Running for South Orange-Maplewood BOE? Find Out Here

Update July 30 1:30 p.m.: the article has been updated with a statement from Narda Chisholm-Greene.

Update July 29 5:45 p.m.: the article has been updated with comments from Johanna Wright, Carey P. Smith and Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad.

Update July 29, 4:51 p.m.: the article has been updated to reflect that Siders and Joshua are running on a ticket together.

Seven candidates — two of whom are incumbents — are running for three seats on the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education this year.

There are nine seats on the BOE; each year, three seats come up for election. Terms are for three years. Election Day is Tuesday, November 5.

The following people have filed petitions to run, according to the Essex County Clerk’s office. (The deadline to file was Monday, July 29 at 4:30 p.m):
  • Narda Chisholm-Greene
  • Thair Joshua
  • Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad
  • Erin Siders
  • Carey P. Smith
  • Sharon Tanenbaum Kraus
  • Johanna Wright

The three BOE members whose terms are ending this year are Lawson-Muhammad, Wright, and Susie Adamson (who previously said she would not run again.)

Chisolm-Greene ran for election last year.

Village Green has reached out to all candidates for comment; at press time Tanenbaum Kraus responded, noting that the catalyst for her campaign was the district’s decision in June to change vendors for its paraprofessionals.

“My son qualified for special education in the summer of 2018,” said Tanenbaum Kraus, who is running on her own ticket. “After going through the evaluation process, placement, and school year, I have seen the best of what our district’s special education has to offer. But I have also seen its worst. My child’s classroom paras have become an integral part of our team, and to have the administration drop their current contract in favor of a cheaper bid was incredibly short-sighted. Moreover, the lack of communication between the administration and the parents was devastating. At that moment, I knew I needed to be that voice of reason on our school board.”

Siders and Joshua are running together. In a statement, the two said, “We are excited to bring our experience and ideas to the race and to the BOE.”

Lawson-Muhammad and told Village Green she is running alone.

“…as a lifelong resident of South Orange (30+ years), and with 2 kids in the district, I have become disillusioned with the current board and [t]he administration and [the] way they operate, and feel a change is warranted,” said Smith in a Facebook message to Village Green. “We need to support [our] kids as well as our teachers more than we are, and the board needs someone that is willing to speak their mind and not be a ‘yes’ person for others on their board. But this person needs to be able to support their position, which I think I would be able to do.”

“I’m running because there is still work to be done,” said Wright.

Chisholm-Greene said she is passionate about making a difference and is running again to “advocate and be the voice for all youth, especially those who are not fully represented in our community.” She continued, “We have an opportunity to make long term changes that make a difference for our youth and community by having independent thinkers represent our BOE.  We are all an integral part of the whole, so I stand on the platform of  ‘One for All,’ which begins with me raising my hand, standing up and be willing to represent all the students of SOMSD.”

We will continue to update this article with comments from candidates as we receive them.

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