HAVERHILL — Voters will decide next month who will help lead Haverhill through a series of challenging educational issues, including building a new school in Bradford.
In the School Committee race on the Nov. 5 ballot, three incumbents are facing off against two challengers.
Voters will decide which three candidates are best suited to help lead the city’s schools, as Haverhill tries to replace the crumbling Hunking School while working to improve MCAS scores and maintain a balanced budget.
School Committee incumbents Joseph Bevilacqua, Paul Magliochetti and Raymond Sierpina are seeking re-election to four-year terms. They are counting on their established political names and experience serving on the committee to bring them victory.
Bevilacqua, head of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce, is seeking a fourth term in office and has been a School Committee member for 12 years. Sierpina, former long-time principal of Tilton Elementary School in Haverhill, is in his first term on the committee, which he joined in January 2010. Magliocchetti, a local lawyer who has been an active school parent for years, is also in his first term and has been on the committee since January 2010. He is the committee’s president. He made an unsuccessful run last year as an Independent candidate for the 1st Essex Senate District.
Challengers Maura Ryan-Ciardiello and Gail Sullivan are banking on their educational and political experience to land them votes.
Ryan-Ciardiello is a teacher by training and currently stays at home with her children. She ran unsuccessfully for the Governor’s Council last year. She is the daughter of City Councilor William Ryan. Sullivan is a teacher at Northern Essex Community College and the University of New England. She has also been a high school principal, curriculum specialist, assistant superintendent and superintendent.
School Superintendent James Scully said this is a key time for education for Haverhill, noting two big issues the School Committee will face in the new year.