43 Delawareans are running for school board seats this year.

43 to compete for 23 school board seats in May 9 election

Jarek RutzHeadlines, Education

43 Delawareans are running for school board seats this year.

43 Delawareans are running for school board seats this year.

The list of school board candidates for the May 9 election has been finalized after delays caused by new background check regulations. 

43 candidates will run for 23 vacancies across 16 school districts.

That’s one less candidate than 2022’s 42 candidates competing for 19 open seats.

State education groups had hoped that more people would run, but First State Education took the high road in appraising the numbers.

“First State Educate is pleased to see so many community members step up to run to serve on their local school board,” the organization said in a statement. “We look forward to meeting and talking with the candidates over the next 9 weeks.”

First State Educate, an advocacy group that wants to catalyze change in education by empowering Delawareans, will participate in a series of forums designed to let district residents get to know their candidates. See the list below.

March 3 was the deadline for filing, but a 2021 law requires school board candidates to complete a criminal background check and a child registry check before their name is listed on the Department of Elections website

According to Delaware Code, the State Bureau of Identification must complete a criminal background check within 15 days of the candidate’s request.

Laurisa Schutt, executive director of First State Educate, previously raised questions about the transparency of who filed.

RELATED: School board candidate listings delayed by background checks

Candidates should have been listed as “pending” if they’re waiting on checks to be completed, that way the public is aware of who’s running, she said.

Here’s who’s running:

New Castle County

Appoquinimink (1 open seat)

  • Tashiba A. Graham
  • Timothy W. Johns
  • Madeline L. Locke
  • Raymond Joseph Petkevis
  • Shawn Rohe

Brandywine School District (2 open seats)

  • Shanika Perry, incumbent District A
  • Ralph G. Ackerman, incumbent District C

Christina School District (2 open seats)

  • Christine A. Gilbert, District C
  • Douglas Danger Manley, District C
  • ​​Y.F. Lou, District E
  • Yong Peng, District E

Colonial School District (2 open seats)

  • Ronald D. Handy Sr., incumbent District A
  • Ja’Lisa K. White, District C

Red Clay Consolidated School District (2 open seats)

  • Aje English-Wynn, District A
  • Jing Han, District A
  • John Shulli, District A
  • Carlucci Coelho, District D
  • Jose Matthews, incumbent District D

Kent County

Caesar Rodney School District (1 open seat)

  • Tawanna Prophet Brinkley
  • Nicole Hill
  • Emily Phelan

Capital School District (1 open seat)

  • Sean P.M. Christiansen, incumbent

Lake Forest School District (1 open seat)

  • Jordan McCloskey, incumbent 

Milford School District (3 open seats)

  • Ashlee Connell, At-large
  • Danielle Deinert, At-large
  • Victor “Butch” Elzey III, District A
  • Jennifer Massotti, District B

Smyrna School District (1 open seat)

  • Marie Fontaine St. Pierre
  • Bobbi Jo Webber

Sussex County

Cape Henlopen School District (1 open seat)

  • Shawn L. Lovenguth
  • Jessica A. Tyndall, incumbent

Delmar School District (1 open seat)

  • Shane Bowden
  • Dawn M. Turner

Indian River School District (2 open seats)

  • Michael R. Bellerose, District 2
  • Leo J. Darmstadter III, District 2
  • Ivan D. Neal, District 2
  • Leolga T. Wright, incumbent District 3 

Laurel School District (1 open seat)

  • Ivy Bonk
  • Sabrina Isler, incumbent

Seaford School District (1 open seat)

  • Armore Rice
  • Stephanie Smith
  • David Tull, incumbent 

Woodbridge School District (1 open seat)

  • Jeffrey W. Allen, incumbent

To find contact information for each candidate, click here.

School board forums

Here’s the schedule of forums:

  • Christina School District – Tuesday, April 25 at p.m. 
  • Red Clay Consolidated School District – Thursday, April 27 at 6 p.m.
  • Milford School District – Wednesday, May 3 at 6 p.m.
  • Appoquinimink School District – Wednesday, May 3 at 7 p.m.
  • Caesar Rodney School District – Tuesday, May 4 at 6 p.m.
  • Seaford School District – Thursday, May 4 at 7:15 p.m. 

The forums are organized by several organizations, including ACLU Delaware, S.A.F.E. Schools Delaware, NAACP, Network Delaware, the Delaware PTA and others.

The event is designed to be a conversation and not a debate. Candidates will not be going back and forth with each other.

The groups have created a list of questions that a moderator will ask. 

All forums will be livestreamed on First State Ecucate’s Facebook page.

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