WORCESTER — The eight-for-six race on the school committee has left incumbents Dianna Biancheria and Shanel Soucy on the outside.
Three new members will join the school’s panel, including Jermaine Johnson, who led all candidates with 8,900 votes, and Susan Mailman, with 8,872 votes, who finished second. Newcomer Jermoh V. Kamara, who garnered 7,994 votes, finished fifth.
The other three winners are: Molly McCullough (8,185), Tracy O’Connell Novick (8,009) and Laura Clancey (6,904).
A lifelong resident of Worcester, Johnson has spent his career working with children, first as a residential counselor working with at-risk youth at the state Department of Youth Services, then as a social worker at State Department of Children and Families.
Johnson also acts as a resource coordinator in his DCF office, managing his budget for services and allocating funds, and providing families with comprehensive services and in-home services to provide support to families.
“I think I got into this for all the right reasons — I really care about kids and families,” Johnson said. “I’ve been a social worker for 20 years, and that’s what I’m proud of.”
He is also the Chief Shop Steward at Service Employees International Union Local 509, as well as a youth baseball and basketball coach at Worcester schools.
“To have people who truly believe in me and believe in my vision for Worcester Public School children, and the City of Worcester children and City of Worcester families we serve, I am so grateful,” says Johnson.
Close behind Johnson was Mailman, separated by just 28 votes.
Mailman owns a construction and electrical company, chairs the board of directors of Quinsigamond Community College, and serves on the board of UMass Memorial Health.
Mailman, whose father, Ted Coghlin, was also heavily involved in vocational education in Worcester, is a longtime supporter of public schools.
Mailman said she felt compelled to come forward to the school committee because she says these students “are our future.”
At age 11, Jermoh Kamara and his family fled war-torn Liberia, seeking refuge in Worcester. Kamara then attended Worcester Public Schools for elementary, middle and high school. She graduated from Providence College.
Kamara is the director of wellness and health equity at the YWCA, but she also works as an adjunct professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and has taught graduate-level courses in public, social, and behavioral health.
This was Kamara’s second time running for the school committee.
McCullough, who works in the sale of pharmaceuticals, also helps run a local nonprofit for homeless children and families, and has a long history of community and volunteer involvement, which eventually brought her to get involved in politics.
Novick, a former high school English and history teacher, taught public schools in Massachusetts until she had children 20 years ago.
“I appreciate the town of Worcester passing by,” Novick said. “I obviously can’t speak entirely for my colleagues, but I think something that I know Molly and Laura and I worked really hard on was trying to keep in touch with where the parents were, where were the students and where the teachers were. , and how people were doing, especially during the pandemic. And I feel like that really confirmed tonight.
She said her interest in Worcester public schools was largely based on her children attending the school system, two of whom have graduated, and her daughter, who is a sophomore at one of the high schools. local.
Novick described being joined by three newcomers to the board as “fantastic”.
“I think we’ve seen Worcester first kind of get a foothold in what they’re looking for in their school committee in terms of representation at all levels,” Novick said. “In terms of racial diversity, in terms of family experience, life experience, in terms of people who have different experiences with school.”
Although Laura Clancey served one term as a committee member, she has worked in education for over a decade.
First a preschool teacher, she then taught children how to pass the General Educational Development (GED) test in the Department of Youth Services, but for the past 15 years has worked as an education consultant in the department.
Just outside the top six with 6,127 votes, Biancheria was first elected to the committee in 2009.
Biancheria spent 20 years in banking before joining former mayor Raymond Mariano as senior assistant.
Soucy came in last with 5,079 votes.
Soucy, who is an electrician and hairdresser, said she was delighted with the results even though she was not elected.
“It’s been an incredible journey, and tonight is a win,” Soucy said. “It was victorious even though I didn’t win the school committee.”
Soucy’s views on comprehensive sex education in schools as well as comments she allegedly made on Facebook about the LGBTQ+ community have drawn scrutiny.
The Worcester Sucks and I Love It newsletter reported that Soucy was the organizer of an opt-out campaign that encourages parents and students to opt out of the district’s “pornographic” sex education program.
She was also accused of writing a message on her Facebook account that read, “I do not support homosexual behavior…(original ellipsis) never have, never will.
When asked if those controversies might have contributed to voters choosing not to vote for her, Soucy said, “I think it played a part in getting people active and parents active,” Soucy said. . “I think the numbers are good, as far as I’m concerned.”
“I think over 5,000 people came out and supported and that’s a statement,” she said. “I think a lot of parents are aware and caring. Overall, I’m very happy with what’s happened with parent and family involvement.”
Continued: Unofficial Worcester Municipal Election Results