Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Rachel Kill

Will 2021 Mark a Sea Change in Local Tredyffrin and Easttown politics?

The 2021 Primary Election is in a few weeks on Tuesday, May 18 but how many know the candidates on the ballot? In the lead up to the primary, campaign signs are dotting the community but for some, the candidate names may be unfamiliar. Locally we are seeing less incumbents seeking reelection.

Tredyffrin Township supervisor Kevin O’Nell (D) and Easttown Township supervisors Marc Heppe (R) and Jim Oram (R) will not seek reelection. The four members of the TE School Board not seeking reelection are Scott Dorsey (I), Tina Whitlow (D), Mary Garrett Itin (D) and Kyle Boyer (D).

With many incumbents not seeking re-election, it means “new” names on the ballot. Over the last several weeks, many of the first-time candidates have reached out and I have had the pleasure to meet and get to know them. My initial reaction to the candidates I met is “wow” and, that our community is lucky to have so many well-qualified residents willing to serve! Thank you!

Below is the list of our local candidates for Tredyffrin and Easttown Townships Board of Supervisors and for the TE School board.

Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors

There are three Tredyffrin Township supervisor positions available – two at-large and one in the middle district. Currently serving middle district supervisor Kevin O’Nell (D) has chosen not to seek reelection. At-large supervisors Murph Wysocki (D) and Matt Holt (D) are seeking re-election. Terms are four years.

Two attorneys, three corporate executives and a member of the Army National Guard will vie for Tredyffrin Township’s three available supervisor seats.

For Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors, the Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee has announced the following candidates:

  • Supervisor at Large: Murph Wysocki, Attorney *
  • Supervisor at Large: Matt Holt, Attorney *
  • District 2 (Middle): David Miller, Retired executive, president of Chesterbrook Civic Association

* Incumbent

For Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors, the Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee has endorsed the following candidates:

  • Supervisor at Large: Sean Sweeney, Corporate executive
  • Supervisor at Large: Jim Zdancewicz, Business executive
  • District 2 (Middle): Nick Sarracino, member of Army National Guard

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Easttown Township Board of Supervisors

There are two Easttown Township supervisor positions available – currently serving supervisors Marc Heppe (R) and Jim Oram (R) have chosen not to seek re-election. The Supervisors, who are all elected at large, serve staggered terms of 6 years.

An attorney, a corporate executive, an engineer, and an educator will vie for Easttown Township’s two available supervisor seats.

For Easttown Township Board of Supervisors, the Easttown Township Democratic Committee has endorsed the following candidates:

  • Supervisor at Large: Alex Bosco, Professional Engineer
  • Supervisor at Large: Eric Unger, Attorney

For Easttown Township Board of Supervisors, the Easttown Township Republican Committee has endorsed the following candidates:

  • Supervisor at Large: Alessandra Nicolas, Corporate executive
  • Supervisor at Large: Jay Jennings, Educator

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TE School District School Board

The TE School District school board race is going to be interesting as there are no incumbents on the ballot – Scott Dorsey (I), Tina Whitlow (D), Mary Garrett Itin (D) and Kyle Boyer (D) are not seeking reelection. Terms on the school board are four years.

Voting Precincts:

Region 1- Tredyffrin E-2, E-3, E-4, E-5, M-1, M-2, M-5, M-6, W-3, W-4,
Region 2- Tredyffrin M-3, M-4, M-7, W-1, W-2, W-5
Region 3- Tredyffrin E-1, Easttown 1-7

The Tredyffrin Township and Easttown Democratic Committees endorsed the following candidates for the office of Tredyffrin-Easttown School Director:

  • Region 1: Dr. Yolanda Allen, Nonprofit executive
  • Region 2: Dr. Robert Singh, Vascular surgeon *
  • Region 3: Susan Audrain, Retired
  • Region 3: MaryAnn Piccioni, Constituent Services Advisor for State Representative

(* Region 2 School board candidate Nancy Coradi (D), Sales & Marketing Specialist is challenging Singh in primary)

The Tredyffrin Township and Easttown Republican Committees endorsed the following candidates for the office of Tredyffrin-Easttown School Director:

  • Region 1: Leslie Elken, Educator
  • Region 2: Deanna Wang, Pharmaceutical consultant
  • Region 3: Rachel Kill, Senior underwriter
  • Region 3: Bill Nolan, Retired cost price analyst

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The COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmed the functioning of school districts (and school boards), including T/E. Few would question that this past year has been difficult for schools, and for school boards who oversee them. Could this be part of the reason that no incumbents are seeking reelection?

With four seats available on the TE School Board and no incumbents on the ballot, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens. Except for Scott Dorsey who is a registered Independent (although he was elected as a Democrat), the remaining school board directors are all Ds. The nine candidates vying for the four school board seats represent diverse and varied backgrounds.

In recent years, I do not recall a primary election for the school board where there is a challenge for a seat, but we have that this year. The local democratic committee officially endorsed Robert Singh as their candidate for Region 2. However, Nancy Coradi (D) is challenging Singh in the primary election. Here is a case where your vote in the primary election matters. Once the votes are counted, either Singh or Coradi will move onto the general election in November against Republican Deanna Wang.

T/E School Board Member Scott Dorsey Supports Reopening Schools Starting March 15 – How Will the School Board Vote on Monday, March 1?

The public is promised that the T/E School Board will vote on the District’s reopening plan at its virtual meeting on Monday, March 1, 7:30 PM.

After the declaration of “there’s no plan” by school board president Michele Burger less than a week ago, the priority discussion of the District’s reopening plan (and vote) is much anticipated.

The revised reopening plan includes –

  • Increased in-person instruction beginning March 15 (contingent on county level transmission rates)
  • A virtual instruction option will be available to families for the remainder of the school year
  • The plan will begin with 4 in-person days with 1 virtual day each week
  • Potential move to 5 in person days as early as April 1

Click here for reopening plan and meeting agenda.

We get it. Data has shown that remote instruction has impacted students’ progress and that most students are going to learn better in a traditional in-school setting. The science tells us schools can safely reopen and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has asserted that schools are not a major source of COVID-19 transmission.

With social media Facebook groups and lawn signs promoting a full return to the District classrooms, in addition to emails and phone calls to the administration and school board, the pressure is rising to fully reopen the T/E schools. The most optimistic among us hoped the pandemic would be over by now and a sense of relief of a return to normalcy. Fully reopening our schools would help that process.

Currently serving T/E school board member (and former board president) Scott Dorsey publicly voiced his support to fully reopen the schools starting March 15, leaving the following comment on Community Matters:

For the record I am a registered Independent. I have been a registered Independent since October 2019. I voted against the MOU. I voted against policy 1131. I voted against tax hikes last year and will vote against raising taxes this year in the midst of a pandemic. I support in school instructions for our children for four or five days a week starting on March 15. I regularly have made independent votes since I been a board member. I represent forty thousand people of all backgrounds and political persuasions in our community. Please be careful to make generalizations about every board member. -Scott Dorsey

Thanks to Scott for sharing his thoughts — your independent voice (and voting record) on the board will be sorely missed. For the record, Scott has chosen not to seek re-election to the school board.

Other community voices are showing their support to fully reopen the schools. T/E school board candidate Rachel Kill (R) took her reopening case to the national news this week, appearing on America Reports, a Fox news/opinion program. (Click here for video).

The administration and school board also heard from the group, T/E – Support for in-person learning – Giving Parents A Choice this past week. A growing group of nearly 800 TESD families who support full in-person learning starting March 15, the following letter was sent in advance of the school board meeting tomorrow. Please take the time to read.

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