Published May 9, 2019


NORTH READING — Janene Imbriano was re-elected to her third term on the School Committee in Tuesday’s annual Town Election and newcomer Chris Pappavaselio was elected to his first three-year term in the only contested race on the ballot.

Imbriano garnered 391 votes while Pappavaselio polled 284 to edge another political newcomer seeking a first term, Tracy DeGregorio, by 79 votes. She got 205. There were 123 blanks cast and one write-in. Both were vying for the seat held for 15 years by Mel Webster who officially retired in March when his new home in Amesbury was complete.

Overall, voter turnout was extremely low at 4.57%, with a total of 502 voters casting a ballot out of 10,962 eligible voters. It was the second year in a row that fewer than 5% of voters participated. The voter list peaked at 11,043 on the last day to register for this election in mid-April. According to Town Clerk Barbara Stats, the current tally reflects the latest figures through last Wednesday based on information supplied to her office, such as former residents informing the town they had moved, for instance.

POLL WORKER Pat Fillmore updates the posted poll count sheets in the lobby of the Parish Hall at St. Theresa’s Tuesday. This was done every two hours for the four precincts. (Al Pereira/Advanced Photo)

Select Board

On the docket for the Select Board, Richard Wallner and Liane Gonzalez were unopposed in their quest to earn the seats previously held by Bob Mauceri and Mike Prisco, who both officially retired after their final meeting on Monday night (see related story). Wallner got 397 votes and Gonzalez got 368. There were a total of 228 blanks cast plus 11 write-ins. Both had run three years ago against the then-incumbents.


Two candidates ran unopposed for the Community Planning Commission (CPC). Incumbent Chairman Warren R. Pearce Jr. polled 398 votes. Pearce was first elected to the CPC in May 5, 1992 election, Stats said, making him one of the more senior members in elected office locally

Newcomer David Rudloff, who sought the three-year seat vacated by Jonathan Cody, got 347 votes in his first bid for elective office. There were 256 blanks and three write-in candidates.

Housing Authority

James DeCola, the incumbent Housing Authority member who ran unopposed, was re-elected to his second consecutive five-year term with 421 votes. There we 77 blanks and four write-ins.

Town Moderator

Incumbent Town Moderator John J. Murphy was re-elected to his 15th consecutive one-year term with 412 votes. There were 89 blanks and one write-in cast.

Superintendent search tops to-do list

As the current chairman, with six years of experience on the School Committee, Imbriano are now the most senior member of the board, following the retirement of Mel Webster, who served just shy of 15 years.

Asked by the Transcript on election night what she was looking forward to accomplish in the coming year Imbriano said the committee’s first order of business will be to hire a successor to Superintendent of Schools Jon Bernard, who recently announced his intention to retire effective Jan. 1, 2020.

“We have the steps in place to do a search and we are having a search committee. We have discussed whether we are doing an internal or external search. We haven’t come to a decision at this point. It will be announced on Monday,” she said.

At the last meeting on April 29 the committee established parameters for a Superintendent Search Committee. All interested candidates must submit their request for consideration by 3 p.m. Friday, May 10 to to be considered.

The committee will hold a workshop at 6 p.m. Monday, May 13 specifically for this purpose and to select the members of the Search Committee. The regular meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. Both meetings will be held in open session, with the workshop held in the principal’s office at the Little School and the regular meeting held in the school’s cafe for the student presentation. The board will also reorganize, electing new officers and making subcommittee assignments.

In a phone interview Tuesday night, Pappavaselio was asked how he felt winning his first seat to elective office. “I feel wonderful that I will be able to take my knowledge from teaching and put it to good use for the town,” he said. He noted that this will be important from the get-go since the committee will be tasked immediately with the important responsibility of selecting the next superintendent.

Imbriano said the committee will also focus on other priorities in the coming year. “There’s always the challenge of the budget, second is the full day kindergarten, which is on our radar; third is the earlier start time (study) for the high school,” she said.

She added they’ll continue to prioritize keeping the 1:1 computer initiative going and they are also on their way toward revamping the sixth grade schedule to align with the seventh and eighth graders. Currently, under the “school within a school” concept the sixth-graders attend seven classes a day whereas seventh and eighth graders have eight, she said.

Revamping the schedule will enable “our resources to be shared,” Imbriano explained, to allow teachers to teach students at different grade levels as needed, such as international languages. Hiring a 0.5 FTE language teacher in the FY20 budget will enable this course to be introduced in sixth grade whereas in the past students had to wait until seventh and eighth grade to be exposed to it, she said.