Letter to the Editor: Pai, Eastman & Freedson will Bring Continuity and Expertise

by The Village Green
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Editor’s note: Andrea Marino is the campaign manager for the Pai, Eastman & Freedson Campaign.

I welcome to our community Dr. John Ramos, our school district’s new superintendent, and Lynn Irby, new South Orange Middle School principal. Additionally, I congratulate Terry Woolard on his new appointment as assistant principal at Columbia High School and Marianne Hess on her new appointment as interim principal at South Mountain. I look forward to these top-notch administrative appointments moving our district to an even better place for our children.

Along with these administrative changes, comes a need for continuity and expertise at the Board of Education during this time of transition. Madhu Pai, Wayne Eastman and Peggy Freedson fill that need and will hit the ground running.

For the last 20 years, Board of Education President Wayne Eastman has been a committed community volunteer as a member of Friends and Neighbors, an officer in the Community Coalition on Race, a school board member since 2006, and the founder of GlobalSOMA. Wayne and his wife Darcy’s two children attended Seth Boyden, South Orange Middle School and Columbia High School. With bachelor’s and law degrees from Harvard University, he is currently a Rutgers University professor. Wayne has devoted significant time to the issues of accessibility and choice in educational programs, global education and innovative offerings, all through the lens of our tax-stressed residents.

Board of Education First Vice President Madhu Pai has been a member of the board of education since 2012. With her bachelor’s degree in Economics from the State University of New York at Plattsburg, Madhu is a strategic marketing specialist serving as a Senior Vice President of Publicis. In her years serving on the board, Madhu has developed an expertise on the highly complicated school budget, has led the district’s Communications Engagement and Outreach Committee, and has played an important role with issues related to developing and motivating teachers and other staff. Madhu and her husband Nikhil are dedicated community volunteers who are committed to public education. Their two children attend Jefferson and South Orange Middle School.

Peggy Freedson is a professional educator who began her career as an elementary teacher with the Los Angeles Public Schools and since 2003 has been a full-time faculty member at Montclair State University where she prepares preschool and elementary teaching candidates in language arts literacy education. With a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and masters and doctorate degrees from Harvard University, her career has focused on literacy and educational equity. She is currently a member of the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary and Literacy Education at Montclair State University and teaches in the Newark-Montclair Urban Teacher Residency Program. She and her husband have two children who attend Columbia High School and South Mountain Elementary. Peggy has been an avid supporter of South Orange-Maplewood’s many talented and committed teachers, serving as a frequent school volunteer and provider of teacher professional development on language arts literacy topics.

Madhu Pai, Wayne Eastman and Peggy Freedson are running on a platform that prioritizes the recruitment and retention of great teachers, greater choice of educational programs, providing a school curriculum that reflects our globally connected world, and multipronged solutions to achievement gaps based on race, gender and disability, all while understanding the importance of fiscal constraint.

Please join me in voting for Madhu Pai, Wayne Eastman and Peggy Freedson. With their years of impressive education experience, they are the most qualified to oversee the operation of our schools and will bring continuity and experience during this time of transition.

Andrea Marino

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