Councilwoman Cindy Matute-Brown-- Council president
I am a proud lifelong New Jersey resident, born and raised in Jersey City by parents who emigrated from Ecuador in the 1960's. My husband Stephen and I made the decision to move our family to West Orange in 2001, and are grateful to have found such a welcoming community in West Orange.
For 18 years, I worked at Golden Door Charter School in Jersey City as an Enrollment and Truancy Officer, where I advocated on behalf of students, teachers and staff in the school. While there, I founded the Golden Door Charter School Education Association to ensure that teachers had a strong voice and that students received a high-quality public education. The union is an affiliate of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) where I am presently a UniServ consultant. I graduated from Rutgers University with degrees in English, Women and Gender Studies, and Criminal Justice.
Community and Civic Involvement
As a community member, I regularly advocate on behalf of West Orange residents at Town Council meetings and at meetings of the West Orange Board of Education, seeking transparency and fair dealing for our residents. I am excited to continue to advocate for residents as a Town Council member. I am deeply engaged with the grassroots political movements here in West Orange and the greater Essex County area. I am a member of NJ 11th For Change, a nonpartisan group involved in voter education in New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District. I also serve as a steering committee member of Essex Rising, a group dedicated to progressive action in local and federal government. I work with Essex Rising’s Fair & Welcoming Committee and Civil Liberties & Unity Committee, working to support social justice issues locally, to help ensure that all West Orange residents have a voice, and to hold our elected officials accountable to their constituents. I am also a proud member of Action Together NJ, Working Families NJ, Our Revolution Essex County and Our Green West Orange - all grassroots organizations whose focus is on civic, social and environmental engagement to help protect our democracy and environment. In the education space, I serve as the Chair of the NJEA Public Charter Schools Members Work Group, where my focus is on organizing unions in charter schools and also fostering connections between traditional public schools and public charter schools, bringing these formerly isolated groups together to unify their voices and strengthen the entire public-school network. I also serve on the NJEA Leadership Committee, am an NJEA Minority Leadership Cadre Trainer, a PAC Member, and a member of the National Education Association Women’s Issues Committee.
We moved our family to West Orange because of its diversity and great public schools. We are thrilled to have found such a strong community, and a few years ago, my husband decided to move his law office here too. Our 3 children have long since graduated from West Orange High School, but I remain committed to uniting residents of our town to ensure that we live in a safe, sustainable community where our children receive a high-quality education, our voices are heard, and the government continues to work to make this a place where people can afford and want to live.