Home>Campaigns>School Board races today in 14 municipalities, but 9 are unopposed

School Board races today in 14 municipalities, but 9 are unopposed

In Fredon, one seat will be decided by write-in votes after two candidates filed for three seats

By David Wildstein, April 25 2023 12:02 am

Norman Rockwell, Election Day, 1944. Photo: Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.)

Good morning, New Jersey.  It’s Election Day.

Voters in fourteen New Jersey municipalities go to the polls today to elect Board of Education candidates in the last vestiges of April school board elections in a state that has largely shifted those contests to November when voter turnout is higher.

But of the fourteen, just Newark, Westfield, New Brunswick, West New York, and East Hanover have contested races.  Nine races are uncontested.

The date of the election, originally set for April 18, was changed to obviate any conflict with the religious observance of Ramadan.

Eight candidates are seeking three seats on the Newark Board of Education: incumbents Josephine Garcia and Hasani Council, and Allison James-Frison are running on the Moving Newark Forward slate.  Flohisha Johnson, who won with Garcia and Council in 2020, is not seeking re-election.  James-Frison ran unsuccessfully in 2022.    James Wright, Jr., Thomas Luna, and Tawana Johnson-Emory are on the Newark Kids Forward ticket.  Latoya Jackson and Ade’Kamil Kelly are also in the race.

Another seat on the Newark school board will open up in January after A’Dorian Murray-Thomas steps down to become an Essex County Commissioner.  She is unopposed in the primary and general elections.

In Westfield, five candidates are seeking three school board seats.  Incumbents Brendan Galligan and Kent Diamond are seeking re-election, along with Dyanna Pepitone, Brian Crawford and Charles Gelinas, Jr.   A third incumbent,  Michael Bielen, is not running again.  Westfield had moved their school elections to November more than a decade ago but moved them back to April last year after deciding they would rather seek voter approval of their annual budget than be limited to a two percent cap on spending increase.

A race for three school board seats in New Brunswick has attracted six candidates: incumbents Dale Caldwell, Emra Seawood, and Patricia Verela face Linda Stork, Yeni Mendez Romero, and Nishad Sonam Datta.

Six candidates are seeking three school board seats in West New York:  incumbents Sandra Pfeil and Aylen Jover are running on the “Your Children’s Future” slate with Henry Codina, and for a one-year unexpired term, with Stephanie Gonzalez.  Pfeil, Jover and Codina face three candidates running separately – Jenny Garcia, Julissa Zubiaga, and Brandon Fontanez.  Gonzalez is unopposed.

Two incumbents, Adam Parkinson and Mariekla Diaz, did not seek re-election and instead are running for West New York Town Commissioner in the May 9 non-partisan municipal election.  Jover had been serving an unexpired term.

Four candidates are competing for three seats on the East Hanover Board of Education: incumbents Catherine Pfund-Olsen and Joseph Troise, along with Philomeno Mattia and Michael Foti.

A write-in vote could determine the outcome of a school board seat in at least one municipality, Fredon, where incumbent Arne Olsen is the only candidate two full-term seats; Anthony Corcella, who was appointed last year, is unopposed for an unexpired term.  Catherine Higgins is not seeking re-election.

Incumbents Kanaiyalel Patel, Luis Diaz, and Claudia Baselice are unopposed for re-election to the North Bergen Board of Education.

In Weehawken, three incumbents have no opponents: Linda Cabrera, John Cannata, and Richard Pinal.

There is no opposition in Cliffside Park, where incumbents Judith Abreu and Teddy Tarabokija are seeking re-election; Carl Raincourt is seeking an open seat.

Three incumbents in Fairview, Tonin Berisha, Hossam Elsamra, and Kenneth Schmitt, also have no opponents.

In the City of Passaic, three incumbents are running without opposition:  Christina Schratz, Arthur Soto and Leslie Zuniga.

There’s no contest in Totowa, where Heather Antonucci, an incumbent, and two new candidates, Nicholas Vancheri and Kristin Coiro, are unopposed.

Four Irvington school board members are running without opposition: Synesha Benbow, Jordan Geffrard, and Audrey Lyon for three-year terms, and John F. Brown for an unexpired term.

In Montague, incumbents Paul Brislin and Andree Campbell, along with Jaime Johnson, have no opponents for three-year terms.  Another incumbent, Christopher Bell, is unopposed for an unexpired term.

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