But Region C voters will make final choice in November election
By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times
EAST MARLBOROUGH — The Unionville-Chadds Ford Board of Education is no longer one member short: Leticia Flores DeWilde of Pennsbury was appointed to the board Monday night.
Flores DeWilde won five votes on the first ballot over Dell Joshi who earned three, and the two appear likely to face off on the November ballot for the Region C seat. Flores DeWilde, who got only one vote during the June balloting that ended up deadlocked, emerged as the top vote getter, after Carol Biederman, who tied with Joshi, withdrew her candidacy.
The vacancy was created following the resignation of Frank Murphy in June, who is running for township supervisor in Chadds Ford.
Flores DeWilde was traveling on a previously planned trip and could not attend Monday night’s meeting, but when contacted Tuesday said she was ready to get to work when the board meet next — in August — and she is sworn in.
“I look forward to working with the School Board for the benefit of our community and our schools,” she said.
Board member Holly Manzone — who nominated Flores DeWilde last month and again Monday night said she was impressed with all of the candidates, but especially liked what Flores DeWilde brings to the board, in terms of her time to focus on school issues, as well as her legal background.
“It’s very difficult,” Manzone said of picking one candidate over the others. “The applicants are all outstanding.”
When it came to the balloting, momentarily it looked like the vote could deadlock again — potentially throwing the issue to the Chester County Court of Common Pleas. Voting alphabetically, with the board vice president, Victor Dupuis, and president, Eileen Bushelow, voting last, the member split 3-3 (Keith Knauss, Jeff Hellrung and Jeff Leiser for Joshi; Kathleen Do, Gregg Linder and Manzone for Flores DeWilde). As Dupuis supported Joshi in June, it appeared that a 4-4 vote might be possible — but Dupuis opted to support Flores DeWilde and Bushelow concurred, settling the matter until the voters can decide in November.
Joshi, of Chadds Ford, said he wasn’t disappointed in the least — and in fact said he was encouraged by the amount of support his application garnered.
“When I first filed my application, I wasn’t sure I’d get any support,” Joshi said. “I’m delighted to have gotten so much support.”
He said he plans to run and will reach out to local party leaders — he’s current registered as a Republican — for further discussions about the fall election.
Flores DeWilde, is currently a stay-at-home mother of two, but previously worked as a senior policy analyst for the American Cancer Society and served as a staff attorney for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
During her May interview with the board, she said as a Latina and a Mexican immigrant, she brings a unique perspective — and appreciation of public schools.
In other district news, the board approved the hiring of two new administrators, James Conley, as Unionville High School Assistant Prinicipal and Leah Rider as the district’s new Supervisor of Special Education.
Conley, an English teacher at Unionville for the past decade, replaces Kurt Barker — and said Monday he is excited at the opportunity to move into the administration.
Rider has worked for the Chester County Intermediate Unit for the past decade — including the last six based in the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District, making her uniquely qualified to take on the position, Superintendent of Schools John Sanville said.
“I already have a quite a ‘to-do’ list for both of you,” Sanville said. “We’re thrilled to have you both on board.”
Also, the board approved the new contract with the district’s administrators — those covered under Act 93 — completing the final deal with employee groups left outstanding. In the last few months, the board has finalized deals with teachers, support personnel and now administrators.
Finally, the board approved an $11,000 expenditure for the Raptor Visitor Security System that was tabled last month. The board voted 7-1 in favor, with only Manzone voting no, suggesting that the system would not do anything to prevent the sort of incident seen in Sandy Hook, Conn. last year.
Lindner noted after his questions on the system had been answered, he was fine with using as described previously as a uniform visitor system that checks for Megan’s Law offenders. Any expansion beyond those uses — including additional criminal or background screening — would require further board discussion.