Election Maplewood Opinion Schools / Kids South Orange

Letter: Bergin & Winkfield Will Improve the District’s Standardization, Oversight, Accountability

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:

My two children have attended schools in the district for a combined 25 years, through which we have experienced a wide variety of teachers, schools and administrations.  During that time, my main involvement has been with the individual teachers of our children.  For the most part, we had excellent teachers and the school years progressed smoothly.  Beginning last school year, I became much more involved with understanding the Columbia HS administration and BOE.  I learned there were several foundational areas that needed to be improved in SOMSD: curriculum standardization, organizational governance structure, and application of a teacher evaluation framework.

Courtney Winkfield and her husband moved to South Orange early last year.  I have been good friends with her husband for several years and was excited to learn that Courtney has many years of experience in various facets of public education and currently works for the NYC Department of Education.  I have spoken with Courtney several times about my thoughts on the areas for improvement in SOMSD and particularly in CHS.  She clearly articulated how, and why, best practices in this space could be applied to our school district to create more standardization, oversight and accountability.  I believe her vast knowledge in the field of school administration would be an incredible asset to our BOE.

Although I do not know Susan Bergin personally, I have heard her present her platform and credentials.  I know she has actively participate or led volunteer initiatives that have yielded positive outcomes.  She is aligned with Courtney’s suggestions to improve the district’s standardization, oversight and accountability which is important to me. 

As such, I endorse these two candidates and believe they will be strong additions to the BOE.

Marco Hurtado
Maplewood, NJ

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