LYNNFIELD — Let the campaigning begin!

The Town Election on Tuesday, April 9 will feature four contested races, which is the most in the last 20 years. The election will feature a Select Board race, two School Committee races and a Board of Library Trustees contest.

Select Board race

Chair Joe Connell is facing off against Finance Committee member Alexis Leahy in the Select Board race.

Connell, who is running for a second three-year term, is a 30-year U.S. Army veteran and a former colonel. He works as the director of global security for Thermo Fisher Scientific, and is the chair of the Veterans Memorial Committee. He is the former chair of the Strategic Planning Committee.

“Serving on the Select Board has been a very rewarding experience for me,” said Connell in a recent interview with the Villager. “I love giving back to the town that has provided for my family and I. I really love working with the other Select Board members, Town Administrator Rob Dolan and Assistant Town Administrator Bob Curtin. They are remarkable people. I want to continue some of the projects we have going on right now and I want to continue serving the people of Lynnfield.”

Leahy, who is running for office for the first time, has served on the Finance Committee for the past two years. She has worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston since April 2015. Leahy has also volunteered for local community groups such as Townscape and the Summer Street School PTO.

“I want to represent a very active portion of this town that’s not currently represented among those currently in the Select Board roles,” Leahy stated in a recent interview. “The current board doesn’t fully represent the demographics and varied interests of town, particularly parents with school-aged children. The Select Board has a direct impact and influence on planning the budget and strategic direction of the town. I would bring a fresh perspective and contribute with a representative voice that has been left out of the conversation for some time.”

SC races breakdown

There are two separate School Committee races that feature six candidates.

Three candidates are running for three-years and three candidates are looking to serve one-year terms. The last time there were four school board races on the ballot was 1994.

Three-year SC race

The three-year School Committee race features Chair Kate DePrizio, Planning Board Chair Brian Charville and newly appointed School Committeeman Jim Dillon. Pine Street resident Brendan Cooney pulled nomination papers for a three-year term in early January, but he did not return them by the Feb. 20 deadline.

DePrizio, who was appointed as the School Committee’s chair in early January, is running for a second three-year term. The mother of four is also involved with other community groups such as Lynnfield Girl Scouts, serves on the Lynnfield Youth Softball board and is the co-director of the Huckleberry Hill School Variety Show.

“As you look around the country, it is clear that Lynnfield Public Schools is not alone in the issues, turnover and turmoil that other school districts are facing,” DePrizio recently wrote on her Facebook page. “There is one profound difference: Lynnfield Public Schools has always been a leader in providing the path to lifelong success for students, maintaining positive staff and community engagement, and striving for excellence and ingenuity. This is the moment, our moment, to rebuild. To find direction and vision in leadership and to once again be the district to model how to move forward and flourish, it is time for Lynnfield to lead.”

Charville has served on the Planning Board for seven years, and has been chair for most of his tenure. As chair, he frequently gives presentations during other board meetings as well as Town Meeting. The father of three is also a Cub Scout leader, and has coached his children’s youth sports teams.

“I’m inspired to serve on our School Committee because I think each of the Lynnfield Public Schools is primed to take its capabilities and educational outcomes to the next level, and I want to be a leader in helping students and teachers see even greater success,” Charville stated in a recent email. “I’m an attorney and lead a real estate and construction company. In my job, every day I have to set and enforce goals, hire and encourage staff, and develop and adhere to budgets, all while growing and advancing the organization. Those are professional skills that will translate to successful School Committee service.”

Dillon, who previously served 15 years on the School Committee, was appointed to his seat during a joint Select Board and School Committee meeting last month. He spent most of his educational career teaching science at Masconomet Regional Middle School before retiring as interim principal at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year.

“I worked with a lot of School Committee members, Finance Committee members, selectmen and town administrators,” said Dillon during his joint interview. “We worked over those years to create, develop and submit school budgets. I worked with faculty and staff to try and ensure that all of the kids in Lynnfield had the best possible educational experience. As a teacher and as a School Committee member, there is a lot of responsibility to make sure every student has the best possible learning experience that they can while operating within a budget.”

One-year SC race

The one-year School Committee race includes Bryant Street resident Kristen Grieco Elworthy, Russet Lane resident Jenny Sheehan and Winchester Drive resident Kimberly Baker Donahue running for two seats. All three women are running for office for the first time.

Elworthy, who previously served on the Finance Committee and the Public Safety Building Committee, has three children enrolled in the school system. The Lynnfield High School Class of 2000 graduate owns the public relations company Seven Hills Communications. Elworthy is serving as a parent representative on the Summer Street School Council this year.

“As a product of the Lynnfield Public Schools and a parent of three LPS students, I’m excited for the opportunity to help usher the district through what will undoubtedly be a challenging period,” Elworthy recently wrote on her Facebook page. “I believe I can bring a fresh perspective to the committee, one that is infused with practicality, problem-solving and collaboration. I do not expect that the coming year will be smooth sailing for Lynnfield – quite the opposite, in fact. But I do believe that we will come out of this phase stronger and better, and continue Lynnfield’s status as a leader in Massachusetts schools.”

Sheehan has two children enrolled in the district, and has a preschooler at The Bethlehem School at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. She has been expressing concerns about increasing class sizes at the two elementary schools over the past year. She owns btone Fitness locations in Middleton and Lexington.

“As a parent to three young students, a member of the Summer Street School PTO board, co-president of the Bethlehem Preschool PTO and a successful small business owner, I feel I can bring relevant and impactful experience to the difficult but incredibly important tasks that lie in the immediate future for the School Committee,” Sheehan recently wrote on her Facebook page. “Furthermore, this town is blessed to have an abundance of dedicated and talented parents and teachers that possess both a wealth of knowledge about the education system, and a deep sense of commitment to our town. Being a team player is something I have always done well.”

Baker Donahue grew up in town and moved back to Lynnfield in 2009. The mother of two practices estate planning, and started the Lynnfield-based KJB Law Firm in 2010. Baker Donahue has volunteered for a number of organizations over the years, including the North Suburban Jewish Community Center’s board of directors.

“I want what is best for this community and what is best for our children, even if it’s not always the popular position,” Baker Donahue recently wrote on her Facebook page. “It’s important to hold ourselves accountable, and it’s how we come back from that and move forward that makes the difference. I can’t promise that my opinion will always match everyone else’s or that I won’t make mistakes, but I can promise that I will always take responsibility for my opinions and actions, and will uphold a position on the School Committee the way I run my own business — with mutual respect, honesty and transparency.”

Library Trustees race

The April 9 Town Election also includes a contested race for a two-year term on the Board of Library Trustees.

Library Trustee Russell Boekenkroeger is running against Cultural Council Chair Darlene Samikkannu Kumar. Both candidates are looking to serve the remaining two years of Board of Library Trustees Chair Bob Calamari’s term. Calamari will be resigning from the board on April 9.   

Boekenkroeger, who also serves as chair of the Library Building Committee, is running for a fourth term. He has lived in town for the past 32 years and has served as a library trustee since 2015.

“I became involved with our library because I believed I could contribute to addressing Lynnfield’s future needs for space and programming,” said Boekenkroeger in a recent interview. “I also felt I could contribute to the creation of a 21st century library that brings together our community in a place to learn, connect, grow and have fun. Over the last nine years, I have worked hard to make the library responsive to the needs to the population.”

Kumar has been the chair of the Cultural Council since September 2022 and has served on the council since 2019. She is a Lynnfield for Love board member and is a member of the Friends of Lynnfield Library. She was co-president of the Huckleberry Hill School PTO from 2016-2018.

“Throughout my various volunteer experiences in Lynnfield, I have learned that our community has a deep desire to make connections,” Kumar stated in an email sent to the Villager. “I believe that the Lynnfield Public Library can be the epicenter of our community. As an avid supporter of the library, I attend many monthly programs and see a need for programming for elementary school age kids and teenagers. The Lynnfield Public Library should be a warm and welcoming place for all ages. I hope to help foster improved collaborations with other community organizations. I would be honored as a library trustee to support the librarians in their mission to provide our community with relevant, educational and multigenerational programming.”