Letter to Editor: Freedson Wants to Bring Highest Caliber Education to All

by The Village Green
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To the Editor:

It is my great pleasure to endorse, personally and professionally, Margaret (Peggy) Freedson, and the Pai Eastman Freedson team for Board of Education.

I have known Peggy Freedson her entire life, and for nearly my entire life. She’s my little sister, and it is with such pride that I write to endorse her, and to tell you what I know. Peggy moved here to South Orange 10 years ago for two reasons: my partner David and I had been in South Orange since 2000, and we all wanted our children to grow up together in these extraordinary towns. And at the time, Peggy had recently been hired by Montclair State University to prepare teachers at their College of Education, with a specialization in early literacy and curriculum development. I was grateful that her work brought her so close, and our two families have happily lived just down the street from each other since 2005. Her son Sammy is a sophomore at Columbia High School, her daughter Ava a third grader at South Mountain, and her husband Steve a local contractor.

Of course, any brother would be proud of his sister, but I have watched Peggy with such enormous pride the past 25 years, from her early days as an elementary school teacher with the Los Angeles Public Schools, teaching what was largely a newly immigrated and underserved population of first and second graders, where I witnessed her deep commitment to advocating for quality in their early school experience, and her work to ensure that the education they were receiving was on a par with children at LA’s more privileged elementary schools.

A desire to be able to do more in bringing excellence in teaching to public schools took Peggy to the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she received her masters and doctoral degrees focusing on literacy and bilingual development. In the interim, she spent several years in rural Chiapas, Mexico working to elevate literacy standards there as a researcher for the Mexican government.

Peggy has always stressed to me that one of the keys to bringing education of the highest caliber to all children, is in training excellence in teachers, and making a school district attractive to and supportive of teachers with the strongest skills and passion for what they do. In doing this, we elevate the level of education our children receive.
Peggy now brings this quarter century of expertise, along with her enormous humanity and 15 years of being a mother (and aunt) of children in the South Orange/Maplewood School District, to the like-minded and already highly accomplished team of Wayne Eastman and Madhu Pai. It is her hope and my belief that in collaboration with them, she can elevate the curriculum and teaching here, making South Orange Maplewood school district one where our so many talented teachers will remain and where the best and brightest will come, so that every child receives the benefits of a rigorous and enriching education.
Please join me in supporting Peggy Freedson, Wayne Eastman and Madhu Pai on November 3rd.
John Freedson
South Orange

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