Iannarone, DiBenedictis Lead School Board Election

Brick Township Board of Education. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  BRICK – Madeline Iannarone and Frances DiBenedictis have won the two open seats on the Brick Township Board of Education.

  The unofficial results stated that Iannarone had 11,066 votes representing 29.77% of the unofficial vote count. Her running mate, DiBenedictis, received 9,670 votes. Erin Wheeler received 8,614 votes, and Maureen Molz received 7,849.

  Current members Melita Gagliardi and Daisy Haffner have previously stated they were not seeking re-election.

  Iannarone has been a Brick Township resident all of her life. She volunteers with the Trap-Neuter-Release program and has worked for the township’s recreation department for many years. She previously ran for the school board in 2016.

  DiBenedictis previously ran for the school board last year. She also has a special needs child in the district. DiBenedictis and Iannarone both campaigned about bringing transparency to the board. In a voter forum, DiBenedictis stated she would support banning books and has also been vocal about the state’s new sex education standards.

  Wheeler is an alternate commissioner on the Brick Township MUA. Additionally, she is a member of Clean Ocean Action as well as a certified Girl Scout leader. In her campaign, Wheeler focused on enhancing communication and wanted to increase student achievement by developing a strategic plan to improve academics.

  Molz, who is a retired engineer, previously worked for the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Army. She campaigned that her skillset would be useful towards state funding challenges. She also focused on post COVID academic and mental health challenges.

  Iannarone and DiBenedictis will be the newest members on board alongside newcomer Allison Kennedy.

  Over the summer, board member Missy Parker stepped down from her position. Parker, who was elected to the board in 2020, said in a letter that she was resigning because she and her family were moving to Georgia.

  At the August 16 meeting, Board President Stephanie Wohlrab announced that the vacant seat will not be available in the general election but will be filled by a vote of the remaining board members.

  During a public special meeting, board members interviewed seven candidates and at the end, they ultimately chose Kennedy. She will fill the open seat for the remainder of Parker’s term which goes until December 31, 2023.

  The 2022 election results are not official until certified by the Ocean County Clerk.