The South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education election takes place on Tuesday, November 7, 2023. Three of nine seats are up for election. Three candidates filed to run by the July deadline and appear on the ballot: Shayna Sackett-Gable, Liz Callahan and Will Meyer. Two candidates, Jeff Bennett and Anthony Mazzocchi, announced a write-in campaign on October 7. Village Green is posting letters of support for all candidates: Deadline for submission was October 31 at 5 p.m. Read our guidelines here. Read all our election coverage here.
I am writing this letter to record my support for Liz Callahan for the SOMSD BOE.
I am doing so because I believe Liz’s goals are measured, specific, and realistic. Most importantly, I know that her north star is equity and inclusion for all our district’s students. I believe she will earnestly listen to all SOMA residents and be flexible while remaining firm in her guiding beliefs and principles, pushing our district closer to the ideals our community purports to uphold. I would be proud to have Liz serve on our BOE, and I hope you will join me in voting for her on November 7.
My family and I moved to Maplewood in 2021 and, as such, are relative newcomers to the SOMSD. Liz, our neighbor, stepped up immediately to make us feel welcome and help bring us up to speed on the school district as big changes were being made and as we began bussing our kids to Montrose for preschool.
Like many other parents, I have concerns about the district pertaining to communication, transportation, etc. For example, no one’s children should be late for school and our teachers and students deserve to work together in facilities that are in good repair. I do not know of anyone, including each BOE candidate, balloted or not, that thinks otherwise. We must find sustainable solutions, and, in my view, this election is about who will best guide us to them.
I believe Liz will work to simultaneously improve the issues facing the district while properly addressing the inequities that resulted in a legally mandated integration plan. Adjustments should be made judiciously, with a steady eye towards serving and uplifting those students who have long been overlooked and left behind. I know that Liz is up to this task and will fight for equity even when the process feels hard, messy, or inconvenient. This is why I am offering her my full support.
Like Liz, her running mates, Shayna Sackett-Gable and Will Meyer, have meaningful and lengthy careers in education, and are also focused on making our district more equitable and just. At a recent candidate’s forum, I was impressed with how their varied experience added dimension to their appreciation of and proposed approach to the challenges faced by our district. I hope you will join me in voting for Liz, Shayna, and Will on election day.