I am writing to encourage all Montclair residents to vote in our first Board of Education election on March 8, and to express my support for candidate Melanie Deysher.

I’ve known Melanie for many years as a friend and a fellow parent of three children in our public school system. A mother of three boys, she has served as a volunteer in the PTA, been active in her children's schools, and involved with several community groups.

She has also been a dedicated advocate for universal early literacy testing in our schools. Her research and advocacy on this topic spanned several years, during which time Melanie was very involved with the BOE, including attending nearly every meeting.

In the process, she developed a broader interest in how our school system is governed and experienced firsthand how the BOE works. She knows how it feels to speak in front of it, the diversity of issues before it, what the BOE does well and where it could improve. She has also demonstrated an ability to listen actively discuss respectfully, and engage multiple perspectives — all essential traits for an effective board member. Finally, she has been willing to dig into the details of our $130 million-plus school budget, and come to appreciate how timely and relevant data can improve analysis and decisions.

Melanie runs with full awareness of how tough this role can be, and respect for those who are already serving.

I believe Melanie would serve Montclair with distinction, and with no agenda other than the best interest of our students. She has my vote on March 8.

Eric Carlson


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