By Libby Rosequist
The primary election will be held on May 18, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. This election year, North East School Board has four seats available with six candidates running for a four-year term.
The school board is currently occupied by Nicholas Mobilia, Corrie Boyd, Joseph Cancilla, Jane Blystone, Eric Riedel, Paul Behnken, Sally Abata, George Sucha and James Wargo.
Mobilia, Boyd, Cancilla and Blystone are re-running for their seats. The two new candidates on the ballot are Amy Burniston and Elizabeth Sceiford. All candidates have cross-filed. With an error on the Democratic ballot, Corrie Boyd can be written-in but will be listed on the Republican ballot.
Each candidate was asked, “What can parents and taxpayers expect from you as a school board director and how will the challenges of the past year inform your decisions moving forward?”
Their responses are listed below:
“I will ensure we provide our children the best education possible by hiring quality teachers, coaches, and advisers,” Jane Blystone said. “I know well the current state standards for education and extracurriculars that create robust educational and extracurricular offerings. I actively engaged in decisions to keep students and staff safe during the pandemic yet helping children do as many things as possible in a normal way.
“If re-elected, I will make decisions that promote strong academics and programming. Due to financial issues for many created by the pandemic, I will work diligently to provide quality education for all children regardless of economic situation.”
“As a current school board director, I have seen first-hand the many challenges our district has had to overcome during these times,” Corrie Boyd said. “It has not been easy, but I have always voted with the health and safety of our district staff and students in mind as top priority. It has been of the utmost importance to me, and will continue to be so.
“Along with making sure our district is safe, I will continue to find ways to save our district money. I have had the opportunity to serve on the facilities committee during my term, and help make our district buildings more energy efficient, which will save our district over many years.”
“As a working parent, I experienced first-hand the frustrations of helping my children navigate remote/hybrid learning,” Amy Burniston said. “By electing me, parents can expect to have their voice at the table. I have strong beliefs regarding screen time and feel it is time to return to a sense of normalcy for the well-being of our children.
“Additionally, through my working relationships with Pennsylvania Department of Education and experience with grant writing, I plan to explore new revenue and funding streams to help with the operations and mission of our school district.”
“Parents and taxpayers can expect me to continue to put the students, teachers and staff at the forefront of every decision we, as a board, have to make,” Joseph Cancilla said. “My decisions and how I vote is not taken without thought and weighing the pros and cons, whether it be curriculum, activities, financials, or any item that may affect the taxpayers.
“I’ve learned during this pandemic as a school board director we have to think outside the box and take calculated risks to ensure we provide the best education to our children. If we can’t adapt to change we will not succeed and I believe we, collectively as a board, have done just that this past year.”
“I will continue to provide guidance and support for the North East School District as I have done for the past 24 years on the board,” Nicholas Mobilia said. “This past year has shown us that we are more resilient than we thought we could be. The challenges of the new year will be met by a district that is well prepared, sufficiently funded, and by an administration and staff who are eager to meet and exceed the expectations of the students and parents.”
“I believe the best way to serve the North East community is for me to first listen to your ideas and concerns,” Elizabeth Sceiford said. “In fact, listening to those close to me led me to run for school board.
“In particular, I want to focus on the whole student, for example, by addressing issues such as bullying and developing life skills like financial literacy. While the pandemic has created novel challenges for our community, I believe it is best to get students and teachers back to in-class learning, but provide alternatives for vulnerable populations.”
Polling places in North East will be McCord Memorial Library, 32 W. Main Road; North East Senior Center, 50 E. Main St.; North East Township Administration Building, 10300 W. Main Road, West entrance, and Praise Cathedral Church of God, 5335 Station Road, Route 89.