Letter to Editor: Raab, Roberts & Malespina Will Better Engage the Community

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Dear Editor,
It is with great pleasure and optimism that I submit my endorsement for the BOE 2015 candidate slate of Marian Raab, Shannel Roberts and Elissa Malespina.

Having been a resident of this community for 17 years, with two sons and being an avid volunteer in our school district since 2004, I have heard all three candidates speak out at Board of Ed meetings – calling for members to rethink their accountability, practices and spending. I have also witnessed the constant struggle for better district-wide communications. The need to reach the under-represented population in our school community has remained a key issue. Even with hopes for the new Let’s Talk! communication pilot program, the question still remains, “How do we solve the frustration and reach those families and students who are not engaged in what is happening in our district?”

The answer lies in the talent and leadership that these three candidates possess – bringing fresh and engaging voices to implement policies for success (in areas in and out of the classroom – i.e. curriculum, equity and access, communication, guidance, special education, athletics, bullying, discipline, safety and the district budget).

Between the three of them, there is a broad array of experience and skill sets that are as diverse as the population in our community. Elissa Malespina of South Orange, is an award winning Librarian in the Somerville school district who formerly served as Teaching Librarian at Columbia High and South Orange Middle schools. Shannel Roberts of Maplewood, is a seasoned Assistant to Top Executives of a major non-profit organization and Marian Raab of Maplewood, is a Financial/Legal journalist and Attorney.

Raab, Roberts and Malespina are also personally invested in our school District. Raab has a 3rd grader at Tuscan and 7th grader at Maplewood Middle. Malespina has a 7th grader at South Orange Middle, and Roberts has a Junior at Columbia High School. Their proven dedication through various leadership roles in school advocacy groups, Tuscan PTA and community organizations has prepared them to: (1) have the empathy to help those who speak up know that they are heard, (2) have the courage to do what is necessary, not popular, and (3) discuss our district budget, policies and processes in a way that makes them less confusing to those who feel overwhelmed. The result will be a shift in greater turnout of families in our district – getting and STAYING involved.

You can learn more about SOMA2015’s accomplishments and platform at www.soma2015.com.

Please join me in casting your vote on November 3rd for Marian Raab, Shannel Roberts and Elissa Malespina.

Deidra McLaughlin

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