Lisa Freschi, a long-time participant in Verona Board of Education meetings, has won the election for the one open seat on the five-member BOE. Freschi was one of five candidates in the race, along with Joanna Breitenbach, Judy DiNapoli, Dominic Ferry, and Michael Perry. With the results still unofficial, Freschi holds a narrow lead over Ferry, a relative newcomer to Verona:
It took far longer than usual to get the results because there were problems with voting machines in several districts and the results in District 2 (Brookdale) had to be counted by hand from a printout.
“The election was exciting, but I’m glad it’s over,” said Freschi after the final ballots were tallied. “Thank you for all the support and I look forward to serving.” Freschi officially joins the Board at its first meeting in January 2015, but BOE President John Quattrocchi said that he will petition the Board to allow her to operate as a non-voting Board member immediately so she quickly comes up to speed.” Quattrocchi said he did that with both Dawn DuBois, who served in 2012 and 2013, and Jim Day, when he was elected last year.
Freschi has served on SCAs at the elementary, middle and high school level and on several BOE committees, including the most recent strategic plan. The mother of three sons who have all graduated from Verona High School, she is the owner of a Verona-based business that helps businesses source the materials they need and advises on their supply chains.
Ferry, who at one point in the vote counting was within 90 ballots of Freschi’s lead, is a 12-year resident of Verona with two children Verona public schools. He applied to the BOE last year to fill the unexpired term of former member Dawn DuBois, but was not selected. He was an energetic campaigner in this year’s race, even coming out to the parking lot behind H.B. Whitehorne yesterday afternoon to make an appeal to voters.
Breitenbach, who has two children in Verona public schools, has served on the SCAs at Laning and H.B. Whitehorne and was a vocal proponent of the March 11 referendum. She has also been active in the Junior Woman’s Club of Verona, serving as co-president for 2011-2012, when she was recognized by the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs for her service.
Tuesday’s loss was the second for DiNapoli, who spent 35 years as an educator and administrator in the Verona public school system, and serves on the Verona Rescue Squad. She ran unsuccessfully for the BOE last year. In January, the Superior Court of New Jersey’s Appellate Division ruled against DiNapoli in a suit she filed against the district in 2011 after her position as assistant business administrator was eliminated.
Perry, a resident of Ann Street, is a graduate of William Paterson University who has been employed at HBO for more than a decade. He is the father of three children, including a son in fifth grade, a daughter in fourth, and another daughter entering kindergarten in 2015.