Editor’s Note: Saucon Source invited the 11 candidates running for four seats on the Southern Lehigh School Board to share a statement about why they are seeking election to the board and what they hope to accomplish if elected to it. All 11 have done so, and their words appear below, without any editing except that which was necessary for consistency. The purpose of this guide is to inform local voters about the candidates and their views before the May 18 primary election. With the exception of one candidate, all of the individuals profiled below are cross-filed, meaning their names will appear on both the Republican and Democratic ballots. Candidates were also invited to submit a photo of themselves as well as links to their social media pages and/or websites. If they did, we have included them below, along with their contact information. We invite and encourage all our readers who plan to vote in the primary to have a dialogue with these candidates before the election, because, as Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1789, “wherever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government.” A meet-and-greet sponsored by the Lehigh County Republican Committee for the school board candidates who are registered Republicans will be held this Wednesday, May 5 at 7 p.m. at Upper Saucon Social Quarters.
Paul Deebel (Cross-Filed) | Facebook Campaign Page
I am a parent of two children in the district. After seeing how our school board responded during the pandemic, I realized we need to have directors that will listen to the families within the district and make the best decisions for our community at a local level. Our children have suffered over the last year, educationally and mentally. If elected, I will advocate for our children–not just in the classroom, but the full school experience–ensuring we have resources not just for education but for sports, clubs and other extracurricular activities–all while keeping taxes in line. Contact: email@example.com.
Tim Kearney (Cross-Filed)
Shouldn’t school boards have at least ONE person serving that has school work experience? I can be that person. I am an educator (34 years). Both of our local hospital boards have at least three physicians serving, because they bring important work-related perspectives. Our board does not have that perspective. I have been an advocate for children at the local, state and national level. I supported students, listened to school communities and received recognition for community outreach as a teacher and principal. I am not one position–education is my passion. I am not a one issue campaign–this is my career. It’s not just talk–it is my walk. I have degrees from Millersville (education), Lehigh (administration) and DeSales (management certificate). Safety, health and wellness are essential. Foremost, I will work for the academic, social, emotional, mental and physical development of our children. My daughter, and every student in the district, deserves a high quality education. As a fellow taxpayer entering retirement on a fixed income, I want to support a positive climate in a fiscally responsible manner. My dad worked at Merrill Lynch for 50 years and taught me well. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m running for school board to ensure our students are the key driver in decision-making, improve our planning for unforeseen circumstances, work to keep budgets in check and ensure our facilities are on par with current regional trends.
Full-Time School with Options – It’s critical for children to interact with others and have an in-person, day-to-day structure for a successful learning experience. Let’s put clear plans in place for our schools to function safely given the situation, and when needed, implement swiftly so that our community can adapt.
Collaborate & Plan With Transparency – Work with the Southern Lehigh community, school district administration and other stakeholders to create a plan for a successful future. Let’s work as a team on decisions that need to be made to continue moving forward.
Keep Taxes in Check – Maintain taxes at their current levels. A practical, common sense approach to budgeting and focused planning of priorities can keep our school taxes at current levels.
Facility Improvement – New facility improvements are currently planned. Let’s look further into the future to understand when outdated facilities must be replaced and consider these future costs before they spin out of control.
I appreciate your consideration on May 18.
Danelle Roy (Republican) | Campaign Facebook Page
I joined the military at the age of 17 and remained on active military service in the U.S. Army for 14 years as a Medical Laboratory Specialist. In the military, I learned how to get the job done regardless of the hurdles that were before me. I have three sons. One attended LCTI and became a welder/fabricator, one is a Navy veteran and one is on active duty in the Navy.
After military life, I returned to the Lehigh Valley where I grew up. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration and work as a Laboratory Technologist for a local hospital. In my position, I write procedures, train employees, troubleshoot instrumentation, evaluate quality controls, work on performance improvement projects and keep abreast on regulatory requirements.
I am a fiscal conservative, always looking to make things better and contain costs.
I believe in House Bill 76, the elimination of school taxes, (and) that there are other ways to fund our schools instead of putting the burden on the backs of our community.
I believe that our schools should reopen fully. For parents who are not ready to send their children back to school, they should have that choice. Should children stay home, adequate resources need to be available so they are not left behind.
I am running as a Republican because that is what I am.
Melissa Torba (Cross-Filed) | Campaign Facebook Page
I will partner with district leadership to ensure we provide exceptional education and optimal opportunities to prepare our students to succeed in life. I’m a Lehigh Valley native living in Center Valley with my husband and 7-year-old who is currently attending Hopewell Elementary.
My whole life has centered around education. My father was a public school teacher, my career is as a K-12 Solutions Consultant and I have coached basketball at both the collegiate/youth levels. Because of this, I know education from many aspects. I understand the challenges and triumphs teachers face from watching my father. Professionally I use my expertise to help administrators solve challenges and improve efficiencies, and my experience as a coach allows me to see the impact athletics has on a child’s life.
I’m committed to being part of the solution by using teamwork, respect and decency. I’ll be knowledgeable and I’ll be proud to celebrate the good things. I’ll work to improve our facilities, athletic fields and educational strategies to enhance the quality of SLSD. The Lehigh Valley is growing. SLSD has appeal like no other. I will not pretend to know all the answers, but will seek understanding to make informed and fiscally responsible decisions for our district.
Nicole King (Cross-Filed) | Campaign Facebook Page
The reason I am running for the Southern Lehigh School Board is simple. I am, first and foremost, running for all of the students in Southern Lehigh. I have four children that attend Southern Lehigh so I understand first hand what a qualified board member should look like. Not one child is alike and they each have different needs from their school. I plan to be the board member that will work to understand each child’s individual needs to make SLSD the best place for them to be. I want families to believe leaving our district would be unthinkable.
My plan is to always have an open and honest running dialogue with the people of the district. No problem will be too big or a concern too small for me to listen and help solve an issue. Southern Lehigh families deserve nothing less.
The school board would benefit from fresh faces and new ideas and perspectives. We need people committed to keeping taxes stable while exhausting all efforts to get the district some much needed improvements. The school board should be run like a successful business, remaining fiscally responsible to keep costs low and taxpayers happy while delivering extraordinary results!
Glenn Laverty (Cross-Filed) | Campaign Facebook Page
Despite the difficulties of this school year, I am grateful to the faculty, administration and current school board for their commitment to serve our students. We need to elect pragmatic school board members who will work as a team to fix aging infrastructure, welcome a new superintendent and address continued budget pressure. As an engineer with over a decade of experience leading multi-disciplinary teams, I know how to collaborate effectively to overcome obstacles and solve problems. I believe I can offer informed, compassionate and solutions-oriented service to our community.
As more students return to in-person learning this fall, we will begin to assess the impact the past year has had on their social and emotional well-being as well as their academic performance. We will also need to acknowledge and support those who are still unable to return to campus. Our educators will be on the forefront of this recovery and healing. I want to ensure that our teachers have a voice in these solutions so they can continue to effectively lead and educate our children. I am committed to engaging in productive and respectful dialogue with my fellow board members and listening thoughtfully to feedback from the community. Contact: email@example.com.
Christopher Wayock (Cross-Filed) | Campaign Facebook Page
I am running for school director to return the focus of Southern Lehigh on the students. Transparency and regular, open communication and dialogue with the community, parents and students is necessary to ensure the needs of our community are fulfilled. Decisions of the district deserve to remain local, and local data must be used to be proactive in our decision-making now and in the future. Improvement in consistency of policies across our five school buildings is needed to ensure maximum progress for our students across grade levels. As the father of three students in three different buildings, I experienced variable expectations and experiences for my children over the last 18 months. Southern Lehigh has some of the most diverse educational opportunities of any district in the area, and I will work to improve on those opportunities while working with community resources to improve our facilities for our athletes. Our district is economically diverse, and it is paramount that all decisions minimize any and all tax increases for the foreseeable future. Quality education and community stewardship requires strong, local leadership with a comprehensive perspective, and as a physician and active community member, I bring that and more to the table.
“Why would you run for re-election after this year?” is a question I’ve heard often lately. Every decision concerning reopening schools has resulted in heated debate. No solution to keep our community safe and our students academically engaged satisfied everyone, yet we made those hard decisions. I’ve served as treasurer, vice president and president of the school board. I currently serve on the LCTI board and recently retired after working almost 16 years as a Southern Lehigh Public Library librarian. I’ve voted for renovations to two of our schools and the replacement of our athletic fields. I’ve also encouraged our administration to come up with a more robust rebate program for seniors on a limited income. A draft version of that was presented at the first meeting in April of this year. The majority of our residents do not have children in schools, but we all benefit from responsible school direction. My personal objective is to send each graduate into adulthood as a critical thinker who is prepared for whatever path they choose, whether it’s the workforce, college or military service, after graduation. School board directors need to work together and listen to all voices in the community. Contact: parsonsforslschoolboard@
Nicole Dolan (Cross-Filed) | Campaign Facebook Page
As a school director, my goal would be straightforward: to live up to the expectations of families seeking a top-notch education for their children while maintaining the trust of the hard-working taxpayers of our district. I want to help the Southern Lehigh School District continue to draw and retain excellent teachers, maintain its facilities, and communicate how tax dollars are being responsibly invested in our community. My experiences as an engineer and IT analyst, a parent of twins, and a community volunteer will help me balance these goals and find optimal solutions to district challenges.
The ideal candidate for school board understands which decisions are and are not made at a local level, is well-informed or prepared to dig into a new topic to become well-informed, listens to all parts of the community so no one feels like their voices weren’t heard, and makes data-driven decisions that are in the best interest of the whole community even if that decision doesn’t benefit themselves. I’m committed to being that candidate. Contact: DolanForSchoolBoard@gmail.com.
Mary Joy Reinartz (Cross-Filed) | Campaign Website
After graduating from Southern Lehigh High School in 1976, Mary Joy studied Music at Moravian College and later earned a Bachelor of Speech and Communication from Temple University. She went on to achieve a Master of Business Administration from DeSales University and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Delta Mu Delta honor societies. Mary Joy has a long history working in and volunteering with local nonprofit organizations, including Via of the Lehigh Valley Inc., where she was the President/Chief Executive Officer from 2010 to 2019. She has served on several boards, advisory councils and committees, most of which have involved programs that serve children and adults with disabilities. With 40 years of progressive management and leadership experience (25 years in senior/executive positions), Mary Joy is a dynamic problem solver that will look for ways to remain fiscally responsible while building consensus based on common values, ensuring that the Southern Lehigh community is invested in its schools. She is committed to getting children back into classrooms safely; strategically enhancing curricular and co-curricular experiences; evaluating policies and procedures that benefit all stakeholders; and supporting student services through the lens of equity and inclusion to improve the experience of all students.