Who will run your school district? Voters decide May 11

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(Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels)

(Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels)



School boards across New Castle County might soon be getting new members – in elections in the Brandywine, Christina and Red Clay school districts and by appointment in Appoquinimink.

Candidate information is from Vote411, prepared by the League of Women Voters. Browse the races and then select “Delaware” for what the candidates have said. The election is 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 11.


Char Edelin announced April 13 that she would be relocating at the end of the current school year and must resign her position.

The board will appoint a replacement to fulfill the final 11 months of her term: Aug. 1 through June 30, 2022. A form and letter of interest of interested candidates are due May 28.

Incumbent Richard A. Forsten is running unopposed for an at-large term.

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Three candidates are running in District F: Scott A. Gesty, Tanya Hettler and Kimberly Stock.

Gesty is a CPA and adjunct at four colleges. Her and his wife have a daughter at Talley. “I envision an educational system that enables our children to be successful after graduation,” he wrote. “Whether going to college or entering the workforce, the education they receive should provide them with the knowledge and experiences necessary to achieve their life goals.”

Hettler describes herself as a blogger, writer and psychologist. She and her husband have two children in district schools. “My goal is for the Brandywine school district to meet the educational needs of all of our students,” she wrote. “This includes those with special needs as well as those who are from low-income families.”

Stock is a teacher at McKean. She and her husband have a daughter at Brandywine. “Since I am a parent and teacher, I take education very seriously,” she wrote. “I want to create schools and districts that are equitable in opportunities and are culturally responsive for all students and staff.”  She is Delaware’s Teacher of the Year for 2021.

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Incumbent Monica Moriak is running unopposed in District B.

Two candidates are running in District F: Naveed Baqir and incumbent Warren K. Howell.

Baqir is a systems architect and software engineer. “It takes a village to raise a child!!!” he wrote. “My vision of education in our community is a focus on the community coming together to support schools, and teachers, and students to develop shared beliefs and a common language of learning and progress.”

Howell works at the New Castle County Vo-Tech District. “My vision is: To have a Christina School District that meets the expectations of the families, Teachers and Students,” he wrote.

Three candidates are running in District G: incumbent Susan V. Mitchell, Donald B. Patton and Delilah Starcks.

Mitchell is a retired Christina teacher. “I am somewhat disappointed that Delaware refers to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) as school districts and not school systems because a trusted, functioning system is my vision,” she wrote. “To me, a district is more of a geographic or political entity.”

Patton is a retired administrator. “My vision is to provide every student with a quality education that supports their interest, abilities, and goals, while bridging the gap between home and school,” he wrote. “Ensuring careful attention is given to collaboratively creating a healthy, safe, and emotionally supportive learning environment. It is our responsibility to ensure our educational system is equitable and inclusive for ALL learners.”

Starcks is an educator. “Leadership must be dedicated to equity and inclusion for students, staff, and families,” she wrote. “New or updated polices and procedures must be done to ensure that all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, religion, socio-economic status, or disability are offered opportunities to succeed in a welcoming and equitable environment.”

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Two candidates are running in District C: incumbent Richard W. Schiller Jr. and Grandville Brown. Neither responded to the league.

Board president Joseph T. Laws is running unopposed in District F, after Helena Y. Alkhatib withdrew.

Red Clay

Three candidates are running in District F: Janyce Ann Gill Calmery (who didn’t respond to the league), Kecia Nesmith and Rafael Ochoa.

Nesmith is a school principal. “Education within the Red Clay Schools is characterized by Excellence & Equity!” she wrote. “All students, staff, families, and community members work together to provide support for the diverse needs within the schools, create positive, welcoming, and safe learning and working environments, and have high expectations for achievement!”

Ochoa describes himself as a global business leader. “I believe our learning centers (schools) exist to provide a safe, developmentally, inclusive environment for ‘all’ students; in addition, foster an environment in which the culture encourages each child to try new and exciting things and gives them a solid foundation to build on to be their best version on themselves,” he wrote.


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