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South Orange/Maplewood — Candidate Statements

Johanna Wright for Board of Education

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 • 4:17pm

I am Mrs. Johanna Wright, 30 year resident of South Orange and I have worked for over 30+ years as a teacher, coach, mentor and advisor in the South Orange / Maplewood School District.  I am seeking to help improve the quality of education delivered to our students by running for a seat on the Board of Education.  Now that I have recently retired, I am thankful to have the health and time to dedicate my full energies to serving. 

Our two towns have changed tremendously over the duration of my career.  When I arrived here 30 years ago South Orange / Maplewood was considered a “blue ribbon” district, known throughout the state and the country as a model of excellence.  Today, our school system has fallen from the level of excellence it once achieved due, in no small part, to policies that have failed to meet the needs of our growing and vibrant community.

Over the past few years The Board has taxed our community at the highest rate allowable by law. Our school budget has increased 2.93% elevating our tax rate to one of the highest in the state.  Meanwhile, several of our schools have been put under state scrutiny for performance reasons.  This pattern of rising taxes and faltering standards is one that I am committed to dismantling. 

If you are interested in maintaining the status quo, then I am certainly not your candidate.  But if you are interested in electing a district veteran who believes in the enormous potential of our two towns, yet recognizes that we are falling far short of it and thus must be elevated;  believes that though the Common Core may have been mandated by our state, its hasty implementation and test-happy philosophy may do more harm than good and thus, must not go unscrutinized;  believes that our hiring practices have led to sub par appointments thrusting incompetence and self-interest into positions demanding experience and generosity and thus, must not go unchallenged;  believes that our teachers must be treated and listened to as the professionals they are so that they will always do the necessary work to bring out the best in our children and thus, must be supported; and finally believes that children, all children, flourish when given an environment where they can dream and be themselves and thus, must be embraced.  Join me in reshaping our district on November 5.  Vote Wright!

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