Former Board of Ed President Elizabeth Baker Endorses Winkfield, Bergin, Engel and Zubieta

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Six candidates have filed to run for election to the 9-member South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education on November 3, 2020. Five people are vying for three full-term (3-year) open seats, while one incumbent, Kamal Zubieta, is running to complete the remainder of a term. Village Green is posting letters in support of local candidates campaigning for election. If you wish to submit a letter, read Village Green’s Election Guidelines here.

Top left to right: Courtney Winkfield and Susan Bergin. Bottom left to right: Kamal Zubieta.

To the Editor: 

As I conclude my service on the South Orange Maplewood Board of Education, I know firsthand the progress we have made over the last few years towards making our schools the dynamic, integrated and welcoming communities that each of our children deserve.  I also know how much hard work lies ahead as we confront the challenges of Covid-19 and its impacts on our students, and continue to move forward with our $162 million facilities plan, the imperatives of integration, and the pedagogical work that is needed to improve the experience and outcomes of every single child in our school community. 

With this perspective I urge you to join me in electing Courtney Winkfield, Susan Bergin and Deborah Engel for the open three-year terms on the Board of Education, and Kamal Zubieta for the open one-year term.   

Courtney’s proven educational leadership, Susan’s legal acumen, Deborah’s track record as an innovator, and Kamal’s finance and analytics expertise — together with their shared commitment to equity and dedication to our children  — will serve our school community well as we forge ahead in these unprecedented times. 

The Board of Education as our elected leaders, sets the strategic goals for our District, supervises the Superintendent (the Board’s only direct employee) in the implementation of these goals, and ensures that our financial resources and human capital are aligned to our District’s priorities. The Board must ensure that our District is working hard and working smart for our students. To that end, members of the Board must be collaborative and able to build consensus while at the same time remaining laser- focused on the needs of children. They must also demonstrate courage and diligence in their oversight roles.    

Each of these four incredible women knows how to strike that balance.  They will lead and leverage their expertise to strengthen our schools for the benefit of every child. 

Our 2020 election is already underway and your vote is critical.  Please join me in voting for Courtney Winkfield, Susan Bergin, Deborah Engel and Kamal Zubieta  for our SOMSD Board of Education. 

Elizabeth Baker 


Elizabeth Baker is a current member of the SOMSD Board of Education but the views expressed are her own and not a statement on behalf of the Board of Education. 

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