Dear Editor: TJ Mertz is hands-down one of the most effective members of the MMSD School Board, and it's imperative that we re-elect him in the upcoming April 2 election.

I have worked with TJ over the past few years on a variety of issues — from improving school safety to changing middle-school start times to be in line with decades of overwhelming scientific and educational analysis. He has a rare and extremely valuable combination of strengths: He simultaneously sees the big picture, while at the same time paying attention to details that others overlook.

TJ has worked proactively on the board to bring in and support important change in the district. He is a champion of students with special needs and children of color and their needs, as well as being a steadfast ally of teachers, staff and parents. In the dozens of times that I have emailed the board about an issue of concern, TJ is the only board member (aside from Nicki Vander Meulen) who ALWAYS responds.

Many of us in the community feel quite strongly that MMSD has so much potential to be better and to do better by all stakeholders. I've seen TJ take on tough and sometimes divisive issues and focus the board and district on accountability. He not only has the right values, but he has the skill set and the relationships required to actually enact the change we so desperately need. That's why we need TJ's vision, expertise, and representation on the board to move Madison's schools forward.

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Jennifer Rosen Hein

Verona

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