UPDATED: Eight to Vie for Three Seats on South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education

Editor’s note: September 20, 2019: This article has been updated to reflect that Lucas Calhoun has withdrawn from the race, leaving eight candidates.

Editor’s note, August 29, 2017: This article has been updated to reflect that John Sarantakis withdrew from the race, leaving a field of nine. 

Eight candidates are running for a seat on the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education election this year — the largest number in recent memory.

There are three seats open this year, with the following member’s terms coming to an end: Elizabeth Baker, Maureen Jones and Donna Smith. The terms are for three years. The general election is Nov. 7, 2017.

Baker and Smith recently confirmed to Village Green they would run again. A large number of first time candidates will be on the ballot this year.

The candidates (the order in which the Essex County Clerk read them to a reporter) are:

  • Elizabeth Baker
  • Donna Smith
  • Avery Julien
  • Anthony Mazzocchi
  • Robin Johnson Baker
  • Felisha George
  • Shannon Cuttle
  • Sheila Shidnia

The Village Green is reaching out to all candidates for comment and more information on their campaigns. We have posted statements for Elizabeth Baker, Donna Smith, Anthony Mazzocchi, Sheila Shidnia and Robin Johnson Baker.

Avery Julien and Felisha George are recent Columbia High School graduates who were active in student causes. Their campaign will be managed by Walter Fields of SOMA Black Parents Workshop.

Formerly South Orange-Maplewood School District Director of Fine Arts, Mazzocchi ran in 2016 but didn’t win a seat.

Elizabeth Baker and Robin J. Baker are running together on a ticket.

Cuttle will release a statement after Labor Day weekend, according to her campaign manager Steve Mershon.

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