Delaware's 2024 school board elections are Tuesday, May 14.

19 to compete for 8 seats in May 14 school board elections

Jarek RutzEducation, Headlines

Delaware's 2024 school board elections are Tuesday, May 14.

Delaware’s 2024 school board elections are Tuesday, May 14.

In a light year for school board races, 19 candidates are vying for eight open seats across eight of the state’s 19 school districts.

This year’s election is Tuesday, May 14, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Last year, 43 candidates ran for 23 vacancies across 16 school districts. In 2022,  42 candidates competed for 19 open seats in 16 districts.

This year, a number of districts have board members whose terms are up, but there won’t be an election because of lack of competition. 

Delaware Code states that no elections will be held if there’s only one person running for a seat.

For example, in Brandywine School District there are technically two open seats, but Shawn Jegede is the incumbent and only one running for the District E seat, and incumbent Vice President Jason Heller faces no counterpart in the District G race. 

Thus, no election.

That’s also the case for eight other districts: Caesar Rodney, Capital, Milford, Smyrna, Cape Henlopen, Laurel, Seaford, and District 1, 3 and 5 in Indian River.

“The low turnout in the 2024 school board races is concerning,” stated First State Educate, a state education advocacy group focused on improving outcomes for Delaware’s youth.

While these positions might not have the national spotlight, school boards are the bedrock of the education system, the group stated.

“They make critical decisions that directly impact the daily lives of students, teachers, and families,” the group stated. “Serving on a school board requires a significant time commitment.  It’s a true act of service, and Delaware needs dedicated individuals willing to make those sacrifices.”

First State Educate said it is here to support school board members. 

“We believe every voice matters,” it stated. “Let’s work together to ensure our school boards are filled with passionate individuals who can represent the diverse needs of the community and advocate for the best possible education for all.”

Hear from some candidates 

Britney Mumford, the executive director of DelawareCAN, a state group focused on educational advocacy and student success, is throwing her name into the mix and running for a seat in Appoquinimink School District. 

Britney Mumford

Britney Mumford

Facing three other candidates, Mumford said she’s running to make a positive impact on the community’s schools.

Mumford describes herself as a dedicated mom, education policy expert and passionate advocate for quality education.

“With firsthand experience navigating the education system as a parent and a deep understanding of education policy, I am committed to ensuring that every student receives the support and resources they need to succeed,” she said. “My priorities include a focus on literacy and math proficiency improvement, enhancing teacher support and professional development, and fostering a safe and supportive learning environment for all students.”

She believes that by leveraging her expertise and passion for education, she  can contribute to creating positive change and advancing the well-being of students in the Appoquinimink School District.

Sarah Starkey, an incumbent board member of Lake Forest School District trying to retain her seat, said she’s running for reelection because it’s a privilege to support and advocate for the stakeholders of the amazing community of the district.

Sarah Starkey

Sarah Starkey

“Over the last 4+ years we have hired an incredible superintendent, under whose leadership we have witnessed a great improvement in the climate and culture of our district,” she said. “Our staff and students have demonstrated resilience through the pandemic and have shown great academic growth over the last two years.”

The Lake Forest community has also come together to support a much-needed referendum to increase teacher pay, prioritize school safety and provide the appropriate technology to enhance students’ education,” she said. 

“I’m excited to continue leading this great district and see the amazing things that will happen over the next four years,” she said. 

Starkey faces one opponent in the election. 

Kristie Thomas, running against two others for the open seat in Woodbridge School District, said she’s running to try to make a difference.

“I am a mom of 3 that wants to make a difference for these kids,” she said. “I want the teachers to be heard and to get the help they need to teach all kids.”

She said the district needs more staff – paraprofessionals, teachers, counselors, therapists and more – and it needs better communication for the schools, parents and community. 

“We need to make sure the kids are getting the correct education they need to suit their needs better,” she said. “There is so much I want to improve within the Woodbridge School District. Most importantly I want to help these kids in the best possible way.”

One of her opponents, John Campbell, said he’s running because I have a passion for children’s education and future role in the community.

John Campbell

John Campbell

“I have a positive outlook on our District’s educational goals and improvements,” he said. “I have worked diligently in the community to build up young children on the athletic fields, while also emphasizing the importance of their academic success and that education comes first.”

He said he’s committed to helping the community thrive by interacting with and supporting students and encouraging them to become upstanding members of society.

Brian Swain is the third nominee for Woodbridge.

His focus is building relationships with students, parents and stakeholders — and ensuring school safety.

He said he also wants to keep residents informed on how mandates from the Department of Education affect students and staff.

Learning more about special education demands to make sure the district is accommodating all students is also his goal.

Anita West-Werner, facing one other for the single open seat in the Indian River School District, said the state’s children have been falling behind academically for years.

Anita West-Werner

Anita West-Werner

“COVID exponentially increased the pace at which this was happening,” she said. “Test scores are at an all-time low.  Our administrators, teachers, and students are faced with many pressures and threats that are perpetually increasing. Issues such as safety/discipline, recruiting/retention, curriculum and opportunities for advancement are at the forefront.”

Recent changes in behaviors and mindsets have a grave potential to negatively impact the children in the district as well as the rest of the country, she said, If people don’t act as leaders and stand up against implementation of such ideals and programs. 

“I want to help ensure that we as leaders and parents are doing everything that we can to ensure that our children are given the best opportunity to succeed and become productive members of society as they transition out of this district and into life,” she said. “I feel that starts at this level.”

She said she’s running due to a desire to make Indian River the best district in the state.

Facing off with incumbent Jason Casper, Susan Sander is running for the lone seat in the Red Clay Consolidated School District.

Susan Sander

Susan Sander

Her motivation is to protect the safety of the district’s students and staff and ensure the financial health of its schools.

“As a parent of 5 and grandparent to 5 more, I’ve always known the importance of public schooling in our children’s and families’ lives,” she said. “As a Delaware resident for the last decade, I’ve learned both of the tremendous opportunities afforded to Red Clay students as well as the challenges facing our district.”

She said she provides unbiased, fresh voice, allowing her to serve the district and community without conflict of interest.

“I would like to work to increase parent, family and community engagement, as well as supporting educators in a time of high turnover, all for the benefit of our students,” she said.

Get to know the candidates

First State Educate is once again holding a forum series leading up to the election.

The group states that in the forums, “candidates will share their motivations, qualifications, and visions for education. From addressing challenges to strategizing for success, gain insights into our potential school board members’ priorities and aspirations.”

Here are this year’s forums, which are all held virtually:

  • Christina School District: Monday, April 22 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Appoquinimink School District: Tuesday, April 23 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Red Clay Consolidated School District: Tuesday, April 30 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Colonial School District: Wednesday, May 1 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Register for the meetings here.

“Your participation is crucial as we shape our state’s educational future,” First State Educate states. “Engage with candidates, ask thoughtful questions, and ensure our school board reps can address diverse needs. Let’s make informed decisions together for a brighter, inclusive educational landscape. Join us on this journey toward a better future for all students.”

Here are the candidates:

New Castle County

Appoquinimink School District (1 open seat)

  • Norman A. Abrams Jr., incumbent at-large
  • Timothy W. Johns, at-large
  • Candace M. Jusino, at-large
  • Britney Mumford, at-large

Christina School District (1 open seat)

  • Matt Clifford, District D
  • Amy Trauth, District D

Colonial School District (1 open seat)

  • Robin Crossan, District G
  • Tanya Kerns, District G

Red Clay Consolidated School District (1 open seat)

  • Jason P. Casper, incumbent District E
  • Susan Sander, District E

Kent County

Lake Forest School District (1 open seat)

  • David Walter Mazur, at-large
  • Sarah R. Starkey, incumbent at-large

Sussex County

Delmar School District (1 open seat)

  • Russell R. Smart, at-large
  • Dawn M. Turner, at-large

Indian River School District (1 open seat)

  • Joshua W. Hudson, District 4
  • Anita West-Werner, District 4

Woodbridge School District (1 open seat)

  • John Campbell, at-large
  • Brian Swain, at-large
  • Kristie Thomas, at-large

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