Montclair Schools Superintendent Jonathan Ponds addresses the crowd. KATE ALBRIGHT / FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)

The first sentence in Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is “Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.” A wonderful thought and truth to live by.

As a longtime resident and member of the Montclair community, I am grateful for the leadership of Dr. Jonathan Ponds, the superintendent of the Montclair Public Schools. Dr. Ponds stepped into a seemingly no-win situation: the COVID-19 pandemic, crumbling school buildings and a host of personalities that seem to know what is best for all Montclair school system students.

In speaking with Dr. Ponds, I know and believe that he has the best interests of all students in mind — most recently, with offering COVID testing to ensure the safe opening of Montclair schools. Yes, we all know that even with the testing the uncertainty of the coronavirus is unnerving, however, let’s find ways to support Dr. Ponds and his leadership team as well as all school leadership in Montclair.

As we honor the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., let us become the “beloved community” that he envisioned. Let us live the dream and make it a reality.

In the words of Dr. King: “Our nettlesome task is to discover how to organize our strength into compelling power.”

So, I encourage you, the Montclair community, to work together, set aside your special interests and support our school leadership and give them a chance.

The Rev. Dr. A. Craig Dunn
Executive director of the Montclair Neighborhood Development Corporation


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