Letter to the Editor: Maini Has Knowledge and Vision to Get Things Done

by The Village Green
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To the Editor:

I am writing to voice my whole-hearted support for Annemarie Maini in her bid to win election to the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education.

I have had the pleasure of working closely with Annemarie over the past two years while we were co-presidents of the Home and School Association (HSA) at South Orange Middle School (SOMS). There is no candidate better qualified to serve on the Board of Education in our district. Annemarie has the right personal qualities to build consensus, and a demonstrated personal commitment to the students of our district and the broader community. She will make an excellent board member. Here are just the highlights:

  • Annemarie has a comprehensive understanding of our district at all levels. She has had kids attend elementary, middle and high school in our district. She has worked on PTA and HSA boards and has spent countless hours volunteering in the schools working closely with teachers and administrators. She has attended or watched almost every Board of Education meeting for at least the past five years, and has actively participated in discussions regarding district policy with the administration and Board of Ed members.
  • Part of this comprehensive understanding includes an in-depth working knowledge of the budget. During monthly Presidents Council meetings over the past two years, Annemarie rarely missed an opportunity to ask the superintendent about specific items in the budget where she felt there were opportunities for savings. (Presidents Council is comprised of PTA and HSA presidents.)
  • Her ideas are always extremely visionary and open up the discussion in a way that allows more progress on difficult issues than would otherwise be possible.
  • Annemarie is able to get things done. I don’t think I have ever worked with anyone who can get so much done in such a short amount of time. One example (of many): when the principal of SOMS wanted to bring parents in to talk to students about career paths during lunch, Annemarie went to work and lined up more than a dozen parents to speak. When kids were reluctant to sign up, she recruited them from the lunchroom. As a result, the program was an overwhelming success, from both the presenters’ and the students’ perspectives.
  • Annemarie also has the ability to work with just about anyone. She does not ignore or avoid people with whom she disagrees, but rather tries to find common ground that will allow forward progress on issues. I have seen her reach out on several occasions to people who hold views that are different from hers to gain a better understanding of where they are coming from. This has made her even better informed on the issues, and better positioned to identify a successful strategy or solution.
  • Finally, Annemarie is committed to helping every single student in our district get a quality education. This was demonstrated to me time and time again as every issue, program and activity was discussed during our two years as co-presidents.

Annemarie’s energy, experience, dedication and insight are exactly what we need on our Board of Education. Please join me in supporting the candidacy of Annemarie Maini for the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education.

Jessie Wendt
South Orange



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