LETTER: Kaitlin Wittleder’s Volunteer Experience Shows a Passion for the SOMA Community

by Danielle L. King
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Five candidates are vying for three seats on the 9-member South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education on November 2, 2021: Shannon Cuttle (incumbent), William RodriguezQawi TelesfordArun Vadlamani and Kaitlin Wittleder. Terms are for three years. 

Danielle King and Kaitlin Wittleder coaching Girls on the Run

Dear Editor:

I’m delighted to enthusiastically endorse Kaitlin Wittleder for election to the South Orange & Maplewood Board of Education. Kaitlin has a passion for community affairs that she’s expressed in her volunteer engagement over the years.  In addition to her passion, her professional and volunteer experience has helped her to develop the skills she’ll apply to make a positive impact as a Board of Education Member.

I met Kaitlin when we were both coaches for Girls on the Run (GOTR), a positive youth development program that uses running to teach life skills and promote healthy behaviors.  While I was a coach largely because my two daughters were part of the Jefferson School chapter, Kaitlin volunteered although none of her three children were enrolled in the program. She volunteered her time because she valued the research-based curriculum that includes messaging about self-esteem, teamwork, valuing relationships, and recognizing the important role every girl plays in shaping the world.  Kaitlin has continued coaching at Maplewood Middle School this year, demonstrating her dedication to our district’s students and the larger community.

Kaitlin is a wonderful colleague and co-coach as she’s a great listener and extremely dedicated to the students. Together, we had the challenge and pleasure of resolving some interpersonal conflicts that occurred among the girls. I appreciated her insight and her collaborative partnership as we navigated those challenges.  We’re all very passionate about our communities and our children, and Kaitlin will definitely be able to listen, empathize, and promote consensus in her duties as a BOE member.

In addition to her stellar interpersonal skills, Kaitlin is expert in data-driven decision making from her experience in the financial services and non-profit sectors. She’ll be able to apply the analytical and problem-solving skills she honed as a Senior Director at the National MS Society and prior positions in business development to the Board of Education. Kaitlin is accustomed to asking hard questions and holding team members accountable for deliverables. I am confident she will continue to do this as a member of the BOE. 

I believe that we as a community are very fortunate that Kaitlin is willing to take on the responsibilities of being a Board of Education member. I encourage you to take Kaitlin up on her offer and vote for her! The Board of Education, the South Orange-Maplewood School District, and the larger community will benefit greatly from her ability to build bridges and find solutions as well as her resolute desire to improve our school system for all students.

Sincerely,

Danielle L. King

South Orange, NJ

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