By DAN TOMASELLO

LYNNFIELD — Let the campaigning begin!

The ballot for the April 12 Town Election is now set, and will feature contested races for Select Board and School Committee. The three incumbents’ challengers are representing two different groups who have been at odds with town and school officials over the past year.

Select Board Chairman Dick Dalton is facing off against Historical Society Treasurer Bob Gillon.

Dalton is running for a third three-year term. He was elected during the last contested Select Board race in 2016.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have served these past six years with committed Select Board members and to have interacted with countless citizens who serve on committees and boards, and I take pride in my ability to seek out and value public input from all citizens,” said Dalton in a recent email sent to the Villager. “As a leadership team, we have been able to work together cohesively and deliver results that are always in the best interests of the town. While much has been accomplished these past few years, there is still much to do. And I hope that the voters of Lynnfield provide me with the opportunity to once again serve on the Select Board.”

The Villager sent Gillon an email asking why he has decided to run for Select Board, which is the newspaper’s standard practice for candidates running for office. Gillon has yet to respond to the Villager’s questions even though he told the newspaper after a Feb. 7 Select Board meeting he would.

The Select Board severed ties with the Historical Society last August due to the nonprofit organization’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit status getting revoked in September 2011. The Historical Society’s nonprofit status was revoked because Society officials did not file a Form 990-series return form for three consecutive years. According to Town Counsel Tom Mullen, the Society “failed to file tax returns for several years.”

Gillon informed the Historical Society’s Board of Directors in a Sept. 18, 2021 email that the nonprofit’s 501(c)(3) status was reinstated. Mullen informed the Select Board during an August 2021 meeting that the Society registered with the Attorney General Office’s Division of Public Charities in July 2021.

SC race

There are three candidates running for two seats on the School Committee. Chairman Rich Sjoberg and Vice Chairwoman Stacy Dahlstedt are facing off against Homestead Road resident Corrie J. Luongo.

Sjoberg is running for a third three-year term.

“My desire to continue to serve is a very humble and thoughtful choice for our family,” said Sjoberg in an email sent to the Villager. “We are the proud parents of three children. Our sons are currently attending Lynnfield High School and Lynnfield Middle School, and our daughter is a 2020 graduate of Lynnfield High School who is presently a sophomore at High Point University. I was first elected to the Lynnfield School Committee in 2016 and became vice chair in 2018. During my time on the School Committee, we hired and transitioned to a new superintendent over Zoom and after several years of advocacy, saw the fruition of the elementary schools’ expansion project. Additionally, through the formation of our District Strategy, we have made an intentional connection between educational standards, and student-teacher assessments, all to create and implement curriculum alignment.”

Sjoberg said he has “advocated for our 21st century learners to have greater access to STEAM educational planning through insightful project-based learning.” He has also supported “inclusive classrooms, expanding the LHS Computer Science Department, increased access to internships, small group work and opportunities for elementary foreign language.”

“Looking forward, we shall continue to prioritize student achievement as all students engage in experiential learning, persist in analytical thinking and problem-solving, embrace collaboration with their peers and be creative throughout their entire learning process,” said Sjoberg.

Sjoberg said he was “honored” to be elected as the School Committee’s chairman in April 2021.

“I embraced this challenge with confidence, a positive attitude, calm demeanor and a continued focus on every individual as an important individual,” said Sjoberg. “This School Committee is committed to providing the highest expectations and opportunities for student achievement, quality instruction and has defined clear goals toward this vision. As chair, I fully recognized that all of us together are smarter than anyone of us alone. As a member of the Lynnfield School Committee, we will continue to recognize the needs of our students through teaching a curriculum with fidelity as well as putting the social and emotional health of our students in perspective. The element of safety and security shall also remain a number one focus and responsibility. We will continue to be as diligent in learning as we are in keeping our school community safe.”

Sjoberg said, “Lynnfield is a special place where we go out of our way to support each other – in triumph and tragedy.”

“Lynnfield is a place where we not only cheer on our own children, but our neighbor’s children to succeed in school, sports, music, dance, drama and friendships,” Sjoberg continued. “I treasure my strong record of community involvement. I also currently serve as the chair of the Lynnfield Recreation Commission and a board member of the Lynnfield Council on Aging. Lynnfield is a town where the value of volunteering and support of our schools is clearly reflected in our successes as a town and school district. My commitment to Lynnfield as a whole is solid and unwavering. I pride myself in the trust that I have worked hard to earn from families, town officials, our school administration and staff. I would be honored to continue to serve as a member of the Lynnfield School Committee.”

Dahlstedt is running for her second three-year term. She was elected as the School Committee’s vice chairwoman in April 2021.

“I first ran for School Committee to help shape the direction of the Lynnfield school district,” said Dahlstedt in a recent email sent to the Villager. “My main objective was to ensure we provide our students with the best education and tools our budget allows preparing them for life after Lynnfield High School and the ever-changing world around them. There is more important and good work to do in this great school district of ours, and my work is not yet done. I intend to continue to represent the needs, interests and achievement goals of all students and staff in the district.”

Luongo is running for office for the first time. Similar to Gillon, she has not responded to a series of questions from the Villager about why she decided to run for school board.

Luongo wrote on her campaign’s Facebook page that she is running to “represent all of your children as part of the Lynnfield School Committee.”

“I am running with the goal of more transparency between parents and our elected officials,” Luongo stated. “I will advocate for honest and open dialogue between parents and the School Committee, and will prioritize respect for parental input and parental choice if I’m elected.”

The advocacy group Lynnfield United is supporting Luongo’s campaign. She and the rest of the group opposed the mask mandate for schools that was lifted this week. In addition to opposing mask mandates, Lynnfield United also opposed the equity audit of the school system after the group claimed it would lead to the district implementing critical race theory and The New York Times’ 1619 Project into the curriculum. The school system is not teaching either initiative in classrooms, and The Equity Process did not recommend either initiative be incorporated into the district’s curriculum in the Equity Report that was released last December.