WESTFIELD, NJ — Polls have closed, the tallies have begun, and soon the results will be revealed in Tuesday’s race for Westfield Board of Education.
As of 10 p.m. on Tuesday, with 12 percent of districts reporting, these were the candidates leading in the Westfield Board of Education race for three seats:
Leila Morrelli, 3,755
Sonal Patel, 3,356 votes
Sahar Aziz, 3,180
Paul Monusky, 2,785
Kent Diamond, 1,983
Priti Dave, 1,900
Wendy Rogers, 1,840
Deborah Feldman-Kahn, 1,792
David Sexton, 1,507
Eldy Pavon, 1,169
Write in, 321
A county official said Tuesday that the 10 p.m. numbers were unofficial results for machine and vote-by-mail ballots. The results will be updated at noon daily. The official certification will occur on Nov. 20. Watch Patch for updates.
Despite the fact that this school year was in flux, marked by coronavirus closings and remote learning plans, 10 people still competed hard to win one of three seats on the Westfield Board of Education this year.
Kent Diamond was running for re-election.
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Two slates also ran, as did three other residents. Wendy H. Rogers, Deborah Fedman-Kahn, and David Sexton ran on the Bright Futures slate. Leila Morrelli, Paul Monusky, and Sahar Aziz ran on a slate called Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders. Eldanydia Pavon, Priti Dave, and Sonal Patel also ran.
The field of candidates included a law professor, a special needs parent, filmmakers, and educators. One newspaper noted that two Indian Americans were running.
The candidates and their slates/slogans were:
Wendy H. Rogers (Bright Futures)
Deborah Feldman-Kahn (Bright Futures)
David Sexton (Bright Futures)
Leila Morrelli (Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders)
Paul Monusky (Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders)
Sahar Aziz (Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders)
Sonal Patel (Teacher + Progress + Compassion)
Kent Diamond (incumbent)
The candidates shared their platforms and thoughts in letters, social media posts, and in candidate profiles.
Sahar Aziz of Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders discussed reforming the board’s communication process. “Whether it’s on a daily basis when you’re on the soccer field or at a marching band event, post-COVID, or in the community downtown,” she said, “being accessible and being available, and being responsive.”
Several of the candidates talked about coronavirus.
Candidate Eldanydia “Eldy” Pavon wrote in a Facebook post, “I am proud to be part of a community that makes it their focus to stay safe in order to be able to provide our students some small sense of normalcy during this unprecedented school year.”
She also noted her unique experience: “As the mother of two children, one with special needs, it was important to my family that we found a community that not only had a history of educational excellence but also a welcoming and inclusive community. We found both of these when we made our move to Westfield in 2013.”
Sonal Patel, who has a master’s degree in educational leadership from Lehigh, wrote in a letter, “We must foremost safeguard the health and safety of students, staff, and the community … Our schools must continuously and flexibly re-calibrate plans based on the dynamically changing coronavirus situation to keep students and staff healthy and safe … COVID-19 has brought unprecedented challenges for our students. We must anticipate and bridge any learning gaps caused by the coronavirus.”
Leila Morrelli said that it was important to have well-trained counselors in the schools.
Here is past Patch coverage of the elections, profiles, and the schools:
More information on the school board and the recent race can be found under the Board tab on the district website https://www.westfieldnjk12.org.
For full coverage of the 2020 election in New Jersey, go here: New Jersey Elections 2020
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This article originally appeared on the Westfield Patch