EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 6, 2013

Sticker candidate wins GLTHS seat

By Douglas Moser

---- — METHUEN — Political neophyte Jessica Finocchiaro won the second Methuen seat on the Greater Lawrence Technical School Board just a week after launching a sticker campaign for the slot with no name next to it on the ballot.

Finocchiaro, 26, a Methuen native, won 425 write-in votes, far and away above the handful of votes other names received. She will join Barbara Grondine, whose name was on the ballot, as Methuen's two members on the seven-member school board.

"There are a lot of issues that need to be dealt with," she said. "The number one thing is going to be advocacy. A lot of parents told me they don't feel like they're able to reach out to members. That is definitely going to be my main objective, making sure I'm accessible."

Grondine was the only candidate to return signatures to appear on the ballot, and therefore her's was the only name. Finocchiaro said she was disappointed no one else showed interest, prompting her to launch a sticker campaign last week so the seat would not go vacant.

"This movement was really important to me because Methuen deserves to have full representation, especially when it comes to education," she said.

Grondine said she has met Finochhiaro and is looking forward to working with her.

"I'm glad she did it," Grondine said. "It shows she has an interest in the school, that she spent the time and effort. And I know she worked very hard."

Grondine said she wants to meet with Greater Lawrence Tech Superintendent-Director John Lavoie to discuss issues facing the school. "But like any school we want to increase MCAS scores," Grondine said. "They're doing an evaluation of their program, so I want to get involved in that. And the budget. As soon as we get on the board, it'll be time to deal with the budget."

Methuen's current members, Thomas Grondine and Ken Henrick, ran for other offices. Henrick won election to the Methuen Housing Authority board, along with Frank Gallo. Grondine, Barbara Grondine's husband, ran unsuccessfully for School Committee.

Dennis "D.J." Deeb, a former Dracut resident who served on the School Committee there and on the Greater Lowell Technical School board, drew papers to run for both Methuen School Committee and the Greater Lawrence Tech board, but he only returned papers to run for School Committee.

He won one of the six School Committee seats Tuesday night.

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