Editor's Note: The following are the candidates running in contested races for local Boards of Education in South Jersey. Candidates were contacted via email addresses provided by respective county clerk's offices and were asked to submit profiles and photos. For each town, the the information for the candidates who responded are listed first, followed by the names of the candidates who did not respond, in alphabetical order. Races that did not have a contest are not included in this listing.
ATLANTIC CITY - full term (3)
Education: Masters in education from Stockton University
Profession: TV/media and special education teacher
Political message: "I hope to be a catalyst to help create more opportunities for sports and recreation for students in K-8 schools. This is a crucial component regarding the district's competiveness and development of potential players for high school sports. I would also like to continue offering more CTE (Career & Technical Education) courses that will lead to potential employment and/or careers. In addition I want to continue to maintain and cultivate relationships with the city, local and regional businesses, and public entities that share a commitment to improving the lives of our students."
BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP - Buena Regional - full term (1)
Joseph E. Drogo
Carlo Favretto Jr.
EGG HARBOR CITY - full term (3)
Education: Atlantic City High School and Atlantic County Vocational School for cosmetology
Political message: "As a new board member, I would play an effective role in keeping our schools on track,and setting policies that affect your child and school. I would like to represent the Hispanics population in this community. I want to be a part of the visions and goals for our school district and hold the district accountable for results. I will be an effective school board member and contribute whatever is necessary while collaborating and working as a team with the other board members."
Shireia L. Davis
James Guercioni III
EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - full term (3)
Education: Doctorate in Education Leadership (Ed.D), M.Ed in Special Education, M.S. in Adult and Continuing Education, B.A. in Social Relations
Profession: CEO Sirius Education Services and Owner of Piper Pup Couture Parties and Boutique
Political message: "I am a proud parent of a daughter who attends EHTHS and a member of the Police Explorers. I am an experienced education professional with a demonstrated commitment to purpose-driven leadership and enhancing community values. My candidacy for the EHT School Board seeks to ensure our children obtain the best education opportunities to successfully prepare them for the future. A brief summary of my platform includes: Access to full-day Kindergarten, Increased transparency among school and district leadership, Promotion and Execution of diversity-based initiatives. Effective, steadfast leadership is vital to the success of our school district, and I look forward to your support toward achieving these goals. Educated. Experienced. Knowledgeable."
Louis Della Barca
Education: BA - Trenton State College (The College of New Jersey) MA - Newark State Colege (Kean University)
Profession: Retired - Adjunct Instructor, Stockton University
Political message: "It has been an honor to serve our community as a member of the Board of Education since 2010. With my background of over fifty years in education, I have the experience to continue to be a productive board member. As board president, I led the search committee three years ago when we were looking for a new superintendent. We were fortunate to select and hire Dr. Gruccio. Our Strategic Plan was developed by community representatives who set goals and objectives. One key goal is offering to our residents a full day kindergarten program. Safety is another objective that needs expansion. Building relationships with stakeholders including partnerships with local businesses and community education programs is another objective along with Professional Development for all staff in new initiatives including safety security, the support of social emotional learning, preparing our students for life after HS, this includes career and college level curricula. Continuing to work with legislators to obtain full funding from our state. Embrace-Engage-Educate is our mission."
Patrick Ryan Ireland
Education: Stockton University & Community College of the Air Force
Profession: Master Sergeant NCOIC Manpower & Personnel, United States Air Force
Political message: "If elected I hope to bring new ideas and a fresh perspective to the Egg Harbor Township school board. I would also put in every effort to be as transparent as possible to the community and taxpayers. I feel that my background of leadership from my 11 years of experience in the military and 8 years as a federal employee would strengthen the board overall. I plan to make full day Kindergarten, trade courses, and an Early College Program top priorities. My overall goal is to give the teachers and students the tools they need to be successful."
Education: Ohio University
Political message: "Hope to continue raising students scores, moving toward full day kindergarten, more HS Academies, focus more on non-college bound students and building relationships with the Township and business opportunities for those students, being transparent with all the districts decisions, providing our staff with all they need to succeed."
Ray Ellis Jr.
EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - one-year unexpired term (1)
Education: MPH, BA, MICP, NRP
Profession: Emergency Medical Services- Paramedic
Political message: "I will bring innovation, countless amounts of energy and a big smile to the board. During my time I will push hard for an increase in community involvement. I will ensure that the community is always informed and that our kids get everything they need to be successful in whatever goals and dreams they may have. I will support our teachers and always remain fiscally responsible to the taxpayers. I have proven time and again that I am committed to our community. No slogans no fluff I just want to ensure that every family has a voice in our district, that’s what I wish to achieve."
Education: Atlantic Cape Community College
Profession: business owner
Political message: "I was appointed a member of the board of education in February of this year and I am looking forward to continue working on the many great things happening in our school district. Safety is of the utmost importance to me, so together as a team, and with public input, we have increased the size of our security force and have hired class lll police officers who are specially trained and assigned to our schools, we have also implemented a solid plan to fortify and better secure our school entrances and have brought radio communications up to date. As a board member serving on the curriculum committee I want to assure you that I am continually looking for the very best ways to keep our school curriculum both current and interesting for our students within budget, and at the best possible cost to our taxpayers. Serving on the board of education is a volunteer position that requires full time commitment and dedication. Rest assured, I will continue to devote, as my fellow board members do, many hours of participating in meetings and workshops as well as state mandated training and seminars necessary to stay fresh and current on the many challenges and laws facing public education in New Jersey today to ensure our schools are well run. I am a 55 year, lifelong resident of Egg Harbor Township and attended EHT Schools. I have a vested interest in our community. As a longtime local business owner, I know how to deliver products and services on time and on budget. In addition, I work in the education field as a Truancy Officer in a neighboring public school district, where I have the privilege of helping students and families everyday, all while experiencing how public education works inside and out."
ESTELL MANOR - full term (1)
Bonnie L. Barbetto
GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP - local - full term (3)
Suzette M. Carmen
Profession: Director of Audit
Political message: "I have been a school board member for over 10 years, serving on many committees within the Galloway BOE, and serving as the Atlantic County delegate at the state level. Currently, I serve as the President of our local BOE and I hope to continue to assist the district in setting a responsible budget while providing the best education to our students. I also hope to work with state legislators in providing much needed funding for government mandated testing and programs. All too often, school districts are required to provide new or additional programs/testing but receive no aid from the government entity that mandates them. These costs are passed to the local level, and I hope to work with legislators to address the impact on the taxpayers in our community. Finally, I hope to continue to work with the administration on increasing student achievement, ensuring the continued safety of our students and staff, and increased community involvement."
Belinda D. Chester
Education: BA in Business Administration from Stockton University
Profession: Master Gardener Program Coordinator, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Atlantic County
Political message: "As a parent of two children in the Galloway Township school system, I have a vested interest in ensuring that we provide a personalized environment that supports the unique educational needs of every student. I have been and will continue to be a strong advocate for our children. I am a proponent of long-term strategic plans that continually improve educational outcomes and maintain our reputation for excellence. As schools continue to be underfunded, our board must look for creative ways to reduce costs and re-imagine our facilities. I encourage taxpayers to ask questions and hold our board accountable. I would be honored to have your vote."
Jay R. Shah
Education: Looking to pursue my bachelor's in Finance
Political message: "I hope to achieve better safety, and security for our kids. Also, I want to make sure our tax-payers hard money is spent wisely with a proper budgeting, and want to make sure our teachers and students have someone on the board who's going to fight for their rights."
James G. Gentile
MULLICA TOWNSHIP - local - full term (3)
PLEASANTVILLE - full term (3)
Education: some college
Profession: real estate
Political message: "Improve teacher and staff support to improve the teaching of our children."
Jerome M. Page
Education: Pleasantville High and Atlantic County Vocational School Culinary Arts
Profession: retired chef, New Jersey Transit bus operator
Political message: "I would like to bring in two more board members including myself to add to the three board members already on the board through the General election on November 5th 2019. The voters of Pleasantville have the opportunity to change the board leadership. This will allow the current board members to select the next new leadership. The Callaway organization that has controlled the board for the last eight years will no longer have control. This new board will select the next vice president and a permanent three- or five-year contracted superintendent. and allow the stakeholders in Pleasantville to play a bigger role in the direction of student achievement. This new leadership will be able to give to the children in Pleasantville a thorough and efficient education."
Michael A. Bright
Ta'Shona M. Sparkmon
CAPE MAY COUNTY
LOWER TOWNSHIP - Lower Cape May Regional - full term (3)
Education: Lower Cape May Regional High School graduate
Profession: Certified Public Works Manager
Political message: "I am a long time standing board member that will continue to support as I always have to give the best available education and school experience to the children of the district with at all times keeping the lowest possible cost to the taxpayers in mind. I currently sit on the Athletic Committee and chair the Building and Grounds Committee."
Education: B.S. Kutztown University, M.S. Miami University
Profession: Director of NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife
Political message: "I am hoping to renew my term on the school board so I can continue to help the district adjust to the recent cuts in state funding. I am also keenly interested in maintaining the school’s high level of academic programing and awareness of student resiliency. Some students in our community are high achievers while others require additional support to be successful academically. Making sure the school is adequately providing for students at all levels is important to me. Finally, I think the school and the school board should regularly engage the community in a transparent manner."
Education: BA of Music, Music Education
Profession: Learning Consultant
Political message: "If re-elected, I hope to continue to enhance the learning experiences of our students by putting their best interests first. The school district’s purpose is first and foremost to serve the students and the community. I will continue to advocate for programs and opportunities to help each student be a productive and fulfilled adult. This includes a commitment to ensuring our teachers have the tools and support they need to be innovative and successful in the classroom. I will continue to listen, ask questions, and discuss issues to ensure the needs of the LCMR students and community are being met."
Frank A. Onorato
LOWER TOWNSHIP - Local - full term (3)
Education: Master of Music Education, Boston University - BA Music Education, Mansfield University of PA
Profession: Music Teacher - Dennis Township School District
Political message: "As a school board member, I will bring transparency and accountability to the decision-making to the current board and administration's process. I have two degrees in education and have a fresh perspective that will benefit our students, schools, and taxpayers."
Joseph E. Thomas (NO PHOTO PROVIDED)
Political message: "We must provide our children with an education which provides them the tools to survive and thrive in their world. Six out of ten of our graduates do not meet state standards. This is a waste of our tax dollars and can no longer be tolerated. The future of our pupils does not lie within the confines of our county. Profound and seismic change must be effected while lowering taxes. The 'Good Old Boys' only benefit the old boys who aren't necessarily good. Vote for Change and for Lower Taxes!"
Sally Drozd Yerk
Education: BS Education
Profession: Retired Educator/part-time employee of Queen May Jewelry
Political message: "I have no political message as I am running for a School Board seat. I decided to run as I want to Stand Up For ALL Children. As a mother, grandmother, and retired teacher I believe that makes me a very qualified candidate with many years of experience to be the voice of children."
Education: 12 years
Profession: Broker Associate at Century 21 Alliance
Political message: "Teachers, Parents & Community working together to prepare our children for tomorrow."
Joseph T. McKenna
Charles P. Utsch
MIDDLE TOWNSHIP - full term (3)
Burgess (Butch) Hamer
Education: Taylor's School of Business Philadelphia / Virginia Union UN
Profession: Owner, operator and Teacher Hamer's School of Karate, retired Middle Township police officer, school resource officer, currently Wildwood Convention Center security
Calvin L. Back
George L. DeLollis
OCEAN CITY - full term (3)
Dale F. Braun Jr.
Education: Drexel University - Business/Accounting Major
Profession: Retired Corporate Controller in Banking and Stay at home dad
Political message: "To continue supporting an environment that allows for 'outside the box' creative thinking and planning implementations for continued educational and wellness success of our children, with such endeavors allowing for us obtain the recent District Lighthouse designation we received by the NJ Department of Education in educational achievement. In response to the success of our Wellness Room at the High School, we are opening our second Wellness Room at our Intermediate School this fall. This school year, we have further expanded our PreK program at the Primary School, which will allow for the future Kindergarten students to be 'Raider Ready.'"
J. Tiffany Prettyman
Education: Cabrini College with a Bachelors of Arts in History
Profession: AP world History & Sociology teacher at Mainland Regional High School
Political message: "I bring the parent, teacher, and community members perspective to the school board. I have learned a lot through my time on the school hoard and my 22 years of teaching. I bring a fair and objective opinion to many issues. Helping to further the excellent education that Ocean City schools provide is my goal."
WILDWOOD - full term (3)
Education: Some college
Political message: "Give the students of Wildwood a first-class education while using financial responsibility."
Josephine M. Sharpe
Education: Temple University, Glassboro State College
Profession: Retired Wildwood School District teacher
Political message: "By advocating for full and fair funding, partnering with staff, families and community, I welcome the involvement in moving our students forward and being a part of continuing to promote a positive environment where all students can achieve and thrive."
WILDWOOD CREST - full term (2)
Education: BS in Education & MA in Educational Leadership
Profession: Mathematics Teacher
Political message: "I am very excited to be a candidate for the Wildwood Crest Board of Education. My two children attend Crest Memorial and are fortunate enough to be receiving such quality education. I hope to serve on the board to ensure that the district continues to provide the best opportunities for all of our children in a safe and supportive environment. I would like to see greater transparency, along with better communication between parents and the community. With over 20 years of experience in public education, I offer a unique and fresh perspective. If elected, my plan is to work together to ensure that all of our children receive the exceptional educational experience they deserve."
Joseph Franco Jr.
Education: B.A. from LaSalle University
Political message: "As I school board member, I will collaborate with administration, staff, and the community to uphold high standards of education. Working with other board members I will keep Crest Memorial academically competitive while being fiscally responsible. I currently serve on the Borough Zoning Board, Tourism Development Committee, and the Green Team and I understand the importance of communication with residents. I want to make sure I address all concerns in regards to our schools and every voice is acknowledged. I look forward to this new opportunity to serve in my community."
Michael D. Hawthorne Sr.
DOWNE TOWNSHIP - full term (3)
Brent R Daly
Education: College Grad from Penn State
Profession: Construction Engineer
Political message: "I'm running because I feel it's my turn as a parent to help see for the future of the kids and the school and to help keep the school and students moving into the future."
HOPEWELL/SHILOH - full term (3)
Education: Some college course work completed. Certified Police Training Academy
Profession: Retired law enforcement
Political message: "The years a child spends growing & learning in school puts them on a path to become successful adults & community members. This shows that being a member of the school board should be taken seriously & treated with the same respect that the children of Hopewell Crest deserve. Every child is entitled to an education, & it is my mission to always improve the quality of education for every student in our school. But I want to be clear that as a board member, I will represent not just teachers, but parents, the community, & most importantly, our students. It is important to me that we keep the education, safety and well being of each student at the forefront of our decisions."
Kenneth W Freitag
Arthur L Marchand II
VINELAND - full term (3)
Education: Master's in Geography and Master's in Computer Science
Profession: Homemaker and Homebased Business Owner
Political message: "How can I describe in one hundred words what I hope to achieve as a school board member? I want to give 100% of my efforts to assure that we keep and expand all our creative arts programs in our district. I want to selflessly serve all students, especially our children and families in special education who face dangerous cuts to needed services. As a naturalized citizen of Our Great Country, I'll strive to represent the property taxpayers of our City as well as everyone who now call Vineland 100 percent 'home'. I respectfully ask for your vote and support."
Nicholas L. Fiocchi
Education: B.S. Biology
Political message: "I am eager to continue working with my fellow board members in order to do what is best for our teachers, staff, administrators, and most importantly our children."
Kimberly L. Codispoti
F. John Sbrana
VINELAND – two-year unexpired term (1)
Robert Novicke Jr.
Education: B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University (New Brunswick)
Profession: Legal Intern and full time Law Student 1L at Rutgers Law School
Political message: "As a Vineland Board of Education member my goal is to create trade programs in the high school. A growing rate of young people are leaving south jersey due to a lack of job opportunities. If the school district were to implement a program where students can learn a trade, there is a greater possibility that they will be able to find a job and continue to live in the district. Another goal of mine is to expand the humanities. Expanding programs to introduce students to different concepts can help them find an interest that they can follow into higher education."
Curtis T. Davis
Alix G Silva
SOUTHERN OCEAN COUNTY
BARNEGAT LIGHT - LBI Consolidated - full term (1)
LITTLE EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - Pinelands Regional - full term (3)
Betti Anne McVey
LITTLE EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - Pinelands Regional - one-year unexpired term (1)
LONG BEACH - LBI Consolidated - full term (1)
Education: College Graduate
Political message: "If elected to the LBICSD Board of Education, I will be a voice of reason. A breath of fresh air – inspiring and welcoming the community to be part of the solution. The students, staff, and taxpayers’ opinions deserve genuine consideration with every decision. I want to approach problems with future-forward, creative, long-term strategies that benefit all constituents. Public schools are the heart of a community. Let’s protect our heart."