OP-ED: Heed Dr. Ramos’ Promise That All Stakeholders Be ‘Heard’

by The Village Green
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The following is posted as an open letter to the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education from the Presidents’ Council (a council comprised of the presidents of the PTAs and HSAs within the district):


April 15, 2015

Dear South Orange Maplewood Board of Education,

The members of Presidents’ Council would like to congratulate you on hiring Dr. Ramos as our new superintendent, and thank you for arranging for him to meet the public last week.

We are all impressed by his experience and his background, and look forward to his leadership.

We were especially inspired by his description of problem solving that included an emphasis on creating processes and conversations that allow all stakeholders to be heard, as well as listen to each other, and probe for deeper understanding. We feel that this process will help to move us closer toward collaborative decision making based on data and ensuring that all stakeholders are heard for the benefit of students, administrators, and tax payers.

We look forward to using this problem solving process as our district evaluates the impact of programs on all of our students, including high achieving, struggling, and special education, such as: IB program, Seth Boyden Demonstration School, Math Tracking, Elementary Foreign Language, and other important programs. The successful and inclusive process implemented for the superintendent search (community outreach and data collection from focus groups) would be well received for these upcoming decisions. It is a process echoed by Dr. Ramos and we are excited to see how he engages all stakeholders — students, teachers, administration, parents, and the public — and helps organize the data and comments to make good decisions for our district.

Thank you again for your partnership.

Members of Presidents’ Council

Co-President, Jung Lee Masters
Co-President, Susie Adamson
1st VP, Leah Gomberg
2nd VP, Jim LoStuto
Secretary, Shana Teitelbaum
Treasurer, Amy Forman
Parliamentarian, Willis Goodmore

Home School Association Presidents

CHS – Nancy O’Connell and Lisa Nolet
MMS – Wendy Grzelewski and Sharon Huetz
SOMS – Jessie Wendt and Annemarie Maini

PTA Presidents

Clinton – Holly Pappas and Andrea Beack
Jefferson – Sarah Hollis and Sherina Larrier
Marshall – Rodney Halm and Salimah Latham
Seth Boyden – Tia Swanson and Amelia Nickles
South Mountain – Nerissa Aschoff and Lisa Garelick
Tuscan – Beth Brock and Caitlin Bohlman

Special Education Organizations

SEPAC – Jenny Lindstrom and Jane Beasdale
Special Ed PTO – Barry Berg and Sonya Selig

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