Letter: South Orange-Maplewood Needs Strong Advocates of Public Education Like 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.

Kamal Zubieta

Dear Editor:

It is with great enthusiasm that I support Kamal Zubieta’s candidacy to serve out her remaining term as a member of the SOMSD BOE. 

I have known Kamal for over a decade, and we share many experiences as members of our wonderful community, including having similar aged children in our school district. Throughout our friendship, I have known Kamal to be steadfastly committed to the education of her three children who have excelled in the SOMSD schools. From actively engaging in promoting cultural activities in her children’s classes, to coaching “Girls on the Run,” to boldly stepping up to fill a vacated seat on the SOMSD BOE, Kamal has proven herself to be a strong member of our community. 

As a parent who is intimately engaged in her children’s education, Kamal is keenly aware of the strengths and shortcomings of SOMSD, positioning her well to serve on the BOE. Over the years that I have known Kamal, I have consulted her on many aspects of SOMSD that baffled or concerned me. I knew that she followed BOE activities closely, and that she studied every policy proposal/change carefully, therefore I could always depend on Kamal’s sound analysis and advice. Kamal has helped my family in making important decisions with regards our own children’s schooling and helped us keep the faith in SOMSD. 

Kamal has an unwavering faith in the possibilities a public education engenders for all children. However, she is also acutely aware of the failings of the system, and she has sought to lend her time and energy to help make changes that would improve every family’s experience with public schools. 

As a current member of the BOE, Kamal has thrown her support behind policies such as access and equity, and intentional integration, because she truly envisions that a more equitable and just education for all our children can be a possibility. At a time when public education is under siege, we most certainly need strong advocates of public education like Kamal. 

Dedicated, tenacious, serious, intelligent, articulate, fiercely loyal, and empathetic are all endearments I would use to describe Kamal as a person. I believe these traits will help Kamal serve her remaining term on the BOE effectively to the betterment of SOMA’s children. I encourage our community to learn more about Kamal through her website www.zubieta2020boe.com (English & Spanish).

Thank you.

Devinka Peiris

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