Wagner, Lyons Jr. and Novick Take Seats on Stafford School Board

Jan 09, 2019

Kevin Lyons Jr. is proof that a lot of times the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and on Jan. 3 the 19-year-old was sworn into his new role and joined his mother, Deborah, on the Stafford Township Board of Education.

“I saw an opening and just thought I’d get involved,” said the former Stafford district student and 2017 Southern Regional High School graduate, who this past summer served as a Class I police officer in Long Beach Township and is pursuing a law enforcement career. “I grew up in the district, my parents are involved on school boards, and I thought it would be interesting. So I went for it.”

In November’s election for three open seats on the Stafford board, Lyons Jr. – whose dad, Kevin Lyons Sr., has served on the Southern school board for many years – grabbed 5,576 votes, not far behind Tammy Wagner’s 5,618 votes, while Brett Novick managed to snatch 326 write-in votes to take the other open seat.

The fact Lyons Jr. last attended Stafford Intermediate School just six years ago, it may help add a more youthful perspective to the board.

“It’s very cool to have him on the board with me,” said his mother, who is looking forward to serving alongside her son. “Every meeting is a learning experience, and it’s going to be interesting to see how much he learns. He’ll do well with it.”

Wagner, a former teacher in the Toms River district who moved to Stafford Township toward the end of 2017 and has four children in the district, also is looking forward to serving the school district she’s grown to love.

“We moved here so our children could be in this district,” she said. “I ran for the board because I wanted to help have an impact, not just for my children but all the students of Manahawkin. I wanted to be a voice for them and I’m looking forward to the journey.”

For Novick, who’s lived in Stafford for about 15 years and is a counselor in the Brick school district, his service on the board also is about serving “a larger community of students and making things better for their future.”

“It’s interesting to see things from a different perspective, a more systemic perspective,” he said. “I’m looking forward to this opportunity, and I’m hoping we will continue providing great education opportunities for all the students of the district.”

Shortly after Wagner, Lyons Jr. and Novick were sworn in by Stafford School District Business Administrator Lourdes LaGuardia, Walter Jauch was selected as the new board president, replacing Mike Hemenway, who didn’t seek re-election in November.

Richard Czajkowski won a 5-3 board vote over Joe Mangino to remain as board vice president.

The board approved this year’s meeting schedule, beginning with the next regular meeting on Jan. 17, followed by regular meetings on Feb. 21, March 21, April 18, May 16, June 20, July 18, Aug. 15, Sept. 19, Oct. 17, Nov. 21 and Dec. 12. A special budget-hearing meeting is slated for May 2.

The January, April and September meetings, along with the budget hearing, are set to take place at the Stafford Township Arts Center, rather than the normal meeting place inside the Oxycocus School building.

— David Biggy


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