Montclair BOE Member Anne Mernin Resigns After ‘Cruel, Inaccurate’ Anonymous Email Campaign

Montclair Board of Education Anne Mernin resigned at Wednesday’s BOE meeting, citing a “cruel and inaccurate” anonymous email campaign. Mernin resigned to protect her family.

The anonymous email campaign, “Whistleblower Report: Corruption on the Montclair School District’s BOE” had been sent to members of the community and recently surfaced on social media groups. The anonymous accuser made allegations that Mernin had not met the residency requirements for a BOE member.

“As a parent, I have no choice,” said Mernin.

Mernin’s fellow BOE members gave her a standing ovation and expressed both sadness and anger.

“I’m angry for you, I’m not angry at you,” said vice president Latifah Jannah. “I’m angry at what has happened to bring you to this decision.”

Jannah referenced the difficult time Montclair was experiencing recently with regard to remarks made by education and civil rights activist James Harris and responses to them, and added “and it lessens us.”

“Anne loves this community. She is the most selfless person I have ever met,” board member Jessica de Koninck stated. She questioned how anyone would want to come to Montclair to take the full-time superintendent position “when this kind of stuff is going on?”

BOE president Eve Robinson thanked Mernin for serving on the board.

“I do want to say to those in the community that chose to behave in this way towards you, I know you would still welcome them, the way you welcome everyone else to come and have a meal. I think people really need to understand that,” said Robinson, adding, “this is a very, very sad day.”

Mernin was appointed to the BOE in 2013 by Mayor Robert Jackson, who lauded Mernin as a leader with “stellar civic resume.” Former BOE president Robin Kulwin described Mernin in 2013 as a “great asset to the board” and “a hard working, intelligent and thoughtful Township resident.” Mernin was reappointed by Jackson in 2017.

Mernin, who serves as executive director of Toni’s Kitchen is also actively involved in Montclair Bounce, a festival with a mission to bring the community together in positive ways.

In a Baristanet profile in April 2019, Mernin openly described her Montclair living situation this way: “We just combined households with my mom two years ago. I’m living back in my childhood home on Montclair Ave. Before that we were on Gordonhurst.”

Residency for BOE members has been raised as an issue before in Montclair. BOE member Franklin Turner resigned following a non-residency appeal petition filed by Montclair resident David Herron.

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