Letter: Bergin & Winkfield Will Fight for Equity, Transparency, and Justice

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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.

Courtney Winkfield and Susan Bergin

Dear Editor:

In a time both locally and nationally where the very lives of our most vulnerable community members are at stake, we wholeheartedly endorse Susan Bergin and Courtney Winkfield for the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education.

Both of these leaders have long-time personal and professional experience with supporting those who are most at risk when decision-makers fail to take their needs into consideration. With their “Collaborate, Belong, Thrive” platform, Bergin & Winkfield exemplify the progressive leadership we so desperately need for the district’s next phase of integration and growth.

Collaborate: Bergin & Winkfield will work with community and district stakeholders to ensure that the same voices do not continue to be disproportionately heard at the expense of those whose needs remain unmet. Out of respect for their professional expertise and value, educator voices should be at the heart of every conversation and their continued training and development needs should be prioritized.

Belong: As educators ourselves, we are acutely aware of the impact of school climate and culture on students and faculty alike. Bergin & Winkfield will center improved school culture through an evidence-based increased focus on anti-racist policies, systems and policies that center the needs of students who are most negatively impacted by current and past inequitable treatment. They will champion our district’s integration plan and support the district in building support structures for all students to succeed.

Thrive: Under the Board leadership of Bergin & Winkfield, our district will be reimagined as an exemplar of equity, transparency, and justice. Our community, knit together by our school district, will shine as a beacon of student success for all students. 

We are confident that with the election of Susan Bergin and Courtney Winkfield, the South Orange-Maplewood School District will be well equipped to face 2021 and beyond with synergistic and inclusive leadership that celebrates each member of our district and community.

Alexis Karteron, JD

Jan Oosting Kaminsky, PhD, RN-BC

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