Six candidates will run for election to the 9-member South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education on November 3, 2020. Five people are vying for three full-term (3-year) open seats, while one incumbent is running to complete the remainder of a term. Village Green is posting candidate profiles for each candidate who submits. Below is Melanie Finnern’s candidate statement; she is running on the “Parent for Progress” platform. Read Village Green’s Election Guidelines here.
My name is Melanie Finnern and I am running for one of the three available board of education seats this November. I am a freelance Art Director, yoga teacher, and mother to two children in the district (#clintonstrong!). I realize I have a different professional background than most BOE candidates, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from attending BOE meetings, it’s that what you do for a living doesn’t necessarily correlate to being a strong BOE member.
We need a fresh perspective and a voice of the community. We need somebody with the ability to think creatively about multi-layered problems. Someone who can be sensitive yet resolute in figuring out a path forward. Someone with good humor and the stamina to sit through 7 hour BOE meetings (this is where my yoga training will especially come in handy).
As a school volunteer and parent, I’ve seen what makes our district so wonderful: The brilliant educators, the creative children, the dedicated parents, the devoted administrators. But I’ve also witnessed where our district is lacking and I too, get disappointed by our district’s shortcomings. It would be easy to jump on online and complain — it’s much harder to put yourself out there and do something about it. But here I am, doing something about it. If I earn your vote, I promise I will not go into this role with grand pronouncements of sweeping changes. That is not the role of a board member, but I will take on the task with eyes wide open on how to best blaze a path forward to make our district the best in NJ.