A resident of Sayreville speaks to his elected officials at a joint meeting of the Borough Council and Board of Education on March 7, 2022.

PISCATAWAY, NJ—Voters in 23 Middlesex County municipalities will be electing at least one member to their local school board on November 7.

In some places, the votes for these offices are hotly-contested, with individuals and political factions vying for the volunteer positions on the boards, which control the operations of local school districts.

This year, Board of Education (BOE) races are contested in Woodbridge, Edison, Piscataway, Old Bridge, East Brunswick, North Brunswick, South Brunswick, Sayreville, and Middlesex Borough.

In total, 100 candidates filed petitions to run for BOE seats in this year’s general election, according to the response to an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request, and it appears that most of them ended up on the ballot.

Fifty-nine of the candidates who filed to run for BOE were registered with the Democratic Party, while 24 were registered with the Republican Party, and the remaining seventeen were not affiliated with any political party.

Most Boards of Education in Middlesex County have nine members, with elections for a third of the seats on the board held every year.

Piscataway and Old Bridge saw the most candidates running in the county this year, with nine each on the ballot. The boards each have three open seats up for election.

Meanwhile, citizens in fourteen more Middlesex County towns will have little agency over who ultimately takes office, because there are so few candidates that they are all poised to win an open seat.

The City of New Brunswick and Monroe Township are the only two communities in Middlesex County without any school elections on this November’s ballot.

New Brunswick already had its own contested BOE election in April, with six candidates competing for three open seats, while Monroe’s BOE opted to postpone this year’s election until April 2024, putting it back on the traditional timeline for school elections in the state.

BOE contests have become even more relevant in the political conversation lately, but they are often overshadowed by higher-profile races, such as those for Senate and Assembly.

Unlike most other elections here, the school contests are ostensibly non-partisan, so it is not clear on the ballot what party the candidates belong to, and when ballots are designed, the school races are placed separate from the partisan contests for other offices.

Instead of an indication of party, candidates have the option to use a three-word slogan, provided those words don’t include any variation on the words Democrat or Republican.

Only recently have candidates for school board also been permitted to team up, or “bracket” themselves on the ballot, thus making some of their political alliances more visible.

In each of the following contested races, the top three vote-getters will be declared winners:

East Brunswick

  • Laurie Herrick (registered Democrat)
  • Mark Carangelo* (registered Republican) – “For The Kids”
  • Timothy Cummings* (registered Democrat)
  • Laurie Lachs* (unaffiliated)
  • Dhar Khona (registered Republican) – “Kids, Parents, Teachers”
  • Adam Altman (registered Republican)


  • Virginia R. White* (registered Democrat) – “Edison Excellence”
  • Bijal Parikh (registered Democrat) – “Edison Excellence”
  • Anthony Dima (registered Democrat) – “Edison Excellence”
  • Christopher Lugo (registered Republican) – “Students First”
  • Jingwei (Jerry) Shi* (registered Democrat) – “Students First”
  • Anjana R. Patel (registered Democrat) – “Students First”


  • Amelia M. Sherr (registered Republican) – “Common Sense Leadership”
  • Amanda Bayachek (registered Republican) – “Common Sense Leadership”
  • Lucia C. Laranjeiro (registered Republican) – “Common Sense Leadership”
  • Sharon Schueler* (registered Democrat)
  • Todd Nicolay* (registered Republican)
  • John E. Sousa (unaffiliated)

North Brunswick

  • Hayley Toth* (registered Republican) – “Education for All”
  • Richard D. Liguori* (registered Democrat)
  • Elesia L. James* (registered Democrat) – “All Students Achieve”
  • Jonathan Bizzell (registered Democrat)

Old Bridge

  • Matthew Sulikowski* (registered Republican) – “For the People”
  • Scott C. Pappas (unaffiliated) – “Parent, Attorney, Advocate”
  • Peter Hunt (unaffiliated)
  • Kristina Mazzone (registered Republican) – “Kids Over Politics”
  • Elena Francisco (registered Republican) – “Dedication to Education”
  • Salvatore Di Prima (unaffiliated)
  • Kimberly Castagne (registered Democrat) – “Protecting Educational Values”
  • Amanda Caffrey (registered Democrat) – “Your Voice Matters”
  • Ranbir Singh (registered Republican)


  • Shantell Cherry* (registered Democrat) – “Putting Kids First”
  • Inieka Stafford (registered Democrat) – “Putting Kids First”
  • Loretta Rivers (registered Democrat) – “Putting Kids First”
  • Kimberly Lane* (registered Democrat) – “Supporting Student Achievement”
  • Talaha Khan (registered Democrat) – “Supporting Student Achievement”
  • Gayle Nelson (registered Democrat) – “Supporting Student Achievement”
  • Joanne Caputo (registered Republican) – “Reading Writing Arithmetic”
  • Niraj Patel (registered Republican) – “Reading Writing Arithmetic”
  • William Lawrence (registered Republican) – “Reading Writing Arithmetic”


  • Eileen Pabon* (registered Republican) – “For the Kids”
  • Eloy Fernandez* (unaffiliated) – “For the Kids”
  • Alison Napolitano* (registered Democrat) – “For the Kids”
  • Matthew Lubeski (registered Democrat)

South Brunswick

  • Mike Mitchell* (registered Democrat) – “Educator for Excellence”
  • Raja Krishna* (registered Democrat) – “Students First Always”
  • Smitha Raj* (registered Democrat)
  • Bilal Yousuf Ahmed (registered Democrat) – “Putting Students First”
  • Mukesh Bhatt (unaffiliated) – “Effective Governance Empowers”
  • James Lavan (registered Republican) – “Effective Governance Empowers”
  • Joyce Mehta (registered Democrat) – “Excellence, Transparency, Empowerment”
  • Magesh K. Kamalakannan (registered Democrat) – “Excellence, Transparency, Empowerment”
  • Vivek Kumar (unaffiliated) – “Excellence, Transparency, Empowerment”


  • Thomas Della Salla (registered Republican)
  • Thomas E. Maras (registered Republican) – “Education Never Indoctrination”
  • Frank Della Pietro III* (registered Democrat) – “Improving Our Schools”
  • Marie Anderson* (registered Democrat) – “Improving Our Schools”
  • Nazam Mohammed (registered Democrat) – “Improving Our Schools”

* incumbent seeking re-election

Editor at New Brunswick Today | 732-993-9697 | editor@newbrunswicktoday.com | Website

Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.

Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.