Five community members are running for three seats on the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education this year: Regina Eckert, Nubia Wilson, Bill Gifford, Ritu Pancholy and William Meyer. Eckert, Wilson and Gifford are running on the “Students Come First” ticket. Pancholy and Meyer are running on the “Doing Better, Together” ticket.
My name is Allison Posner and I’ve been a resident of Maplewood for over 7 years after moving here, like so many, from the upper west side of NYC. My husband and I are both in the theatre industry and we were eager to make Maplewood our home after seeing theatre folks with kids before us settle in this creative, diverse and welcoming town. I am a proud mom of two sons, a 3rd grader at Tuscan Elementary and a 4.5 year old who will be joining SOMSD next fall.
Since 2018, I have volunteered with SOMA Action, our local grassroots progressive organization and following the 2020 election, I was honored to take on more of a leadership role within the organization. It is because of my work with SOMA Action that I was first introduced to BOE candidate Ritu Pancholy. First, she served as President of this bustling and hard-working team and in the past year and a half, we have served as executive board members together, strategizing our organizational goals and doing tireless work to ensure all have the right to vote. That’s why I am here to encourage my community to cast their votes for Ritu Pancholy and Will Meyer in this critical election coming up on November 8th.
Ritu’s capacity to lead and collaborate in her myriad roles within SOMA Action inspired me to get involved in the first place. Her intelligence and humor have ensured that our volunteers (and myself) persevere in the face of hardships. Being a community organizer is a lot of work and I know Ritu is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and get the job done. This will no doubt serve her well as a BOE member tasked with the challenges that lay ahead for the board. While I have not known Will nearly as long, I have been consistently impressed with his thoughtful answers at the forums I have attended and his career as a special education lawyer. In addition to my work in the theatre, I am a graduate of the Bank Street College of Education where I earned my Masters of Education with dual certification in Special and General Early Education. For a time, I was a special education teacher in the NYC DOE. Making sure that all our students receive a high quality education right here in Maplewood and South Orange is a huge priority for me and I trust Will and Ritu to make this happen for our community. Their combined experience, poise and ability to affect change on the local level have earned my support and I hope yours as well.
And don’t forget to make a voting plan! Election Day falls during SOMSD’s fall break so be sure to mail in or drop your ballots off today.
Editor’s note: This letter is written on behalf of Allison Posner as an individual and does not represent an endorsement by SOMA Action.