Voters Choose Lyons, Formica and Simonelli for Stafford Township School Board

Lead 10-Candidate Field
By DAVID BIGGY | Nov 07, 2017

Following the largest board of education race in Ocean County, two newcomers will join the Stafford Township School District Board of Education when it reorganizes in January. Incumbent Deborah M. Lyons, Patricia Formica and Gerald “Jerry” Simonelli were the candidates chosen on Nov. 7 to fill the three board seats.

Lyons, one of two incumbents on the ballot, tallied 2,098 votes to lead the 10-candidate race, while Formica took the second-highest number, 1,674 and Simonelli tallied 1,535.

“It’s an honor to be re-elected,” said Lyons, who four years ago was elected as a write-in candidate. “I’ve lived here since 1979 and I’m a graduate of the Intermediate School, so this district means a lot to me. My only agenda is to take care of the needs of the district, and my only plan is to do what I believe is right for Stafford’s students, teachers and staff.”

Former district teacher Michael Dunlea finished fourth with 1,445 votes, while Suzanne Caporrino garnered 1,396 votes in the fifth spot and Joshua Smith had 1,345 votes. The rest of the field consisted of Steven E. Derion (1,124), Michelle Weiss (920) and Erin Sharkey-Coxen (663).

Interestingly, the other incumbent on the ballot, Michael Benson – who effectively ended his re-election bid several weeks ago due to personal circumstances, but missed the deadline to be removed from the ballot – ended up getting 737 votes.

Formica, who grew up in Stafford and went through the district’s schools as a youngster, was especially pleased given it was her first time seeking a spot on the board.

“I’m really happy and excited to serve for the children of Stafford. I can’t believe I was elected the first time I ran. … It’s definitely an honor to be elected and I won’t take this opportunity for granted.”

“I hope I can make a difference and bring a different perspective to the board,” said Simonelli. “I’m anxious to see what’s going on behind closed doors, but I’m going in with an open mind. If I feel something is wrong, I will speak up about it. And if something is going right, I will say that, too. I just want to do what’s best for Stafford Township. It’s a wonderful district and I want it to stay that way.”

Southern Regional District

Heather Tatur and Tom Serpico ran unopposed in the Tuesday election for three-year terms to represent  Stafford. Stuart Snyder ran unopposed to represent Beach Haven.




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