As our community goes to the polls to select from nine candidates for two new Board of Education seats, I want to share with you why I am supporting Phaedra Ruddock Dunn.

Let me start by saying that I did not vote to have an elected school board. Phaedra having the opportunity to run for the school board is the change that our school district needs, and I am now grateful that our community has the opportunity to now vote for who will serve the educational needs of Montclair.

I first met Phaedra as a parent at an elementary school event. She was looking to move her son into Montclair Public Schools, and we connected as educators and advocates for our children. Phaedra was a member of the Bradford PTA and a Book Chat parent who enjoyed discussing books with our children and serving on the Anti-Racism committee. She currently serves as the co-chair for PTAC’s DEI Committee and as the co-chair for the School Action Team for Partnerships at Renaissance at Rand Middle School.

Phaedra has also hosted philanthropic events for our community — events such as a community food drive during a time when our community was in need, and a family fun trunk-or-treat, both open to our entire community.

Phaedra represents, for many, a seat at the table. She is a parent who will listen to our concerns and represent our children with sincerity, care and consistency, and with an educational and therapeutic lens. The combination of her professional experience is one that I know will bring a unique voice to our school board. Phaedra is not afraid to ask difficult questions or do the work to answer the community's questions or concerns.

Let me give you an example of who I know Phaedra to be. As a parent navigating the process for accommodations for my child, Phaedra offered to stand as an advocate with me during difficult meetings. Her support and advice during that time was my saving grace. This is a snapshot of how Phaedra will show up for our children.  It speaks volumes about who she will be on our Board of Education.

As our town goes to the polls on March 8 in this historic vote, know that a vote for Phaedra is a vote for our children, a vote for parents and all of our community's stakeholders to have a seat at the table.

Shaviece Osborne


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