Wittleder: I Will Not Seek Reelection for South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education

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The following letter is from Kaitlin Wittleder, former president of the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education and current BOE member. Wittleder’s three-year term on the BOE expires in January 2025. Three seats on the 9-person BOE come up for election every year; the deadline to file to run is in late July.


My dear community,

It is with a heavy heart that I share with you today that I will not be seeking reelection for the South Orange Maplewood Board of Education. First and foremost, I want to extend my sincerest gratitude to each and every one of you who has been a guiding force in shaping our school district for the better. Your ideas, your passion, and your commitment to our students have been truly inspiring.

I would also like to extend my best wishes to the incoming Superintendent. I am confident that he will lead our district with wisdom and compassion, and I am excited for the new chapter that lies ahead.

I also want to thank my Board colleagues for all of their hard work and dedication to serving our students, it’s been an honor to work alongside you.

As I look back on the past three years, I am filled with immense gratitude for the incredible community that we call home. When I first ran for the Board of Education in 2021, I did so with a vision of a better school district, even though my own children were not yet a part of it. Now, as a parent with children in our schools, I have witnessed firsthand the far-reaching impact of our dedicated teachers and staff, who give tirelessly to nurture and educate our youngest learners.

It’s hard to believe that three years have flown by so quickly, but I am grateful for the life-changing experience of serving on the Board and advocating for the needs of our students. A dear friend once told me that being on your local Board of Education is one of the most important roles one can have in government, and I couldn’t agree more. The decisions we make directly impact the educational experience of our children and shape our collective future.

Please know that I have always held the utmost respect for the significant responsibility that comes with serving on the SOMSD Board of Education. I’ve poured my heart and soul into this role, dedicating countless hours to researching every issue, asking the tough questions and championing the needs of our students. Throughout every decision I’ve made, my dedication remained steadfast—to prioritize what serves the best interests of our children. They have been, and will continue to be, my greatest source of inspiration.

I urge anyone in our community who feels called to serve to consider running for the Board of Education. In a time where volunteerism is increasingly rare, your willingness to step up and make a difference is truly invaluable. If anyone would like to learn more about my experience or discuss the commitment involved, I am always available and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly. The deadline for candidates to submit their nominating petition to the Essex County Clerk’s office is July 29, 2024.

And finally, I’ll leave you with a sentiment that may sound a bit cliché but holds true nonetheless: “It only takes one person to make a difference.” You have the power to be that person, and I hope you seize the opportunity.

With deepest gratitude and warm regards,

Kaitlin M. Wittleder

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