Stafford Leader

Interesting Scenarios Arise for Stafford School Board Elections

Oct 12, 2018

Election Day is fast approaching, and that means local school board positions will also need to be filled. As far as Stafford residents are concerned, both the Southern Regional and Stafford Township school districts have open seats, and at least one interesting scenario has developed for Nov. 6.

Days after the candidacy filing deadline in late July, the Office of the Ocean County Clerk released the list of school board candidates on the slate for this year’s election. Surprisingly, a year after 10 candidates vied for three open positions on the Stafford Township school board – two of whom, Patricia Formica and Gerald Simonelli, were elected alongside incumbent Deborah Lyons – only two individuals filed petitions to be on the 2018 ballot. Three spots are open this year.

The two candidates are Tammy Wagner and Kevin Lyons Jr., son of Deborah Lyons, who was sworn in for her second term on the board earlier this year.

Should Wagner and Lyons Jr. get elected, they would fill two of the three positions being left by Tammy Nicolini, Beth Sicoli and current board president Michael Hemenway.

Interestingly, last week the Stafford Township Education Association endorsed two individuals – Brett Novick and Christopher McManus – as write-in candidates. So now the outcome will rely on township voters as to which individuals find their way onto the school board, and particularly whether voters will bother plugging in names of write-ins.

Nonetheless, with four candidates in the hunt, multiple scenarios exist on how the election could shake out. Either way, the STEA posted this reminder to Stafford residents: “Don’t forget to get your absentee ballot if you’ll be going away.”

As for the Southern Regional school board, all four current members whose terms were slated to expire at the end of the year – Scott Waters, Steven Berkheiser and Keith Weidenhof representing Stafford Township; and R. Scott Zoladz, the Long Beach Island representative – filed for re-election. They are running unopposed.

However, Weidenhof recently stepped down from the board because the district has hired a family member. His replacement may be chosen by the Southern board if there are not enough write-in votes on Nov. 6 to claim that seat. To date, it’s unknown whether anybody from Stafford has announced the desire to be a write-in candidate for the Southern board.

All newly elected or re-elected board members will take their positions the beginning of January, in accordance with each board’s reorganization process.

David Biggy

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