NAACP to host virtual Meet the Candidates event for school board candidates

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The Rome NAACP will hold a virtual “Meet the Candidates” for the City of Rome School Board event on Monday via the Zoom platform at 7 p.m.

The public is invited to a conversation with the five candidates running for the three open seats on the Rome City School District school Board.

Three incumbents, including Paul Fitzpatrick, who served as Board President for three of his five years as a member, Leigh Loughran, and Jonathan Matwijec-Walda will bow to make way for a slate of five candidates that includes only one former member; Dr. Stephen Hampe.  

The candidates in the May 18 election are:

DR. STEPHEN HAMPE - During his three-year term from July 2017 through June 2020, Hampe served as the Board’s clerk, vice president during his first two years.  He concluded his inaugural term serving as president during the onset of the pandemic crisis. Hampe prioritized initiatives that focused upon access and communication, including the AskThe BOE email address and the live-streaming of meetings, which he believes should continue.

The remaining four candidates vying for the three vacant seats would be first-time members.  They include:

ELENA CARDWELL-REDDICK - Cardwell-Reddick, a Rome native, attended Rome schools from Kindergarten at Columbus School through graduating from Rome Free Academy.  After spending two decades working in the legal field in Atlanta, she returned home to Rome to “be closer to my family and raise my daughter in a stronger school system.”

CRAIG FERRETTI - Ferretti has resided in Rome since 1994, when he began his education career.  He currently serves as an elementary school principal in the Camden, NY school district; a role he has held for 15 years.  Ferretti’s wife, Patti, is a lifelong Rome resident and works as a teaching assistant at Bellamy Elementary School.

FELICIA JAMES-WILLIAMS - James-Williams has lived in Rome for almost 20 years.  She and her husband are raising their niece, who attends elementary school in Rome.  James-Williams is “passionate about ensuring that all our children get the best start in life” and would look forward to working as a “governance team” to “best serve all the students in the community.”

ANNA MEGERELL - Megerell works as a teacher assistant for Madison-Oneida BOCES while raising her three children - one of whom is diagnosed with Autism - and who all attend Rome schools.  She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education and says of Rome, “there is no better place to raise children.”

“We will be spending the evening getting to know the candidates and where they stand on the important issues,” the organization said in its announcement. The moderators will be Dr. Shanelle Benson-Reid, of Access Global Group and consultant for the School District, and Maya Nelson, an adjunct professor at Mohawk Valley Community College, author and a graduate in Rome Free Academy’s Class of 2013. The meeting link is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88615012003, or one tap mobile US: +16465588656,,88615012003#  or +13126266799,,88615012003#. By phone dial +1-646-558-8656; +1-312-626-6799; +1-301-715-8592; +1-669-900-9128; +1-253-215-8782; or +1-346-248-7799. The webinar ID is: 886 1501 2003.

Voting will be on May 18 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the following locations: First and Second Wards: Staley Elementary School - 620 E. Bloomfield St.; Third Ward: Redeemer Church, 129 N. Washington St.; Fourth Ward: Gansevoort School - 758 W. Liberty St.; Fifth Ward: Strough Middle School - 801 Laurel St.; Sixth Ward: St. Paul’s Catholic Church - 1807 Bedford St.; Seventh Ward: Copper City Community Connection - 305 E. Locust St.; Eighth and Ninth Wards: Stokes School - 9095 Turin Road; and Tenth Ward: Westernville Library - 9172 Main Street, Westernville.

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