By Seth Daniel
Two energetic candidates have been gathering commitments over the holidays for the open School Committee seat ahead of what looks to be quite showdown at the Jan. 8 vote.
Former Council President Anthony DiPierro said in late December that a meeting has been called for Jan. 8 in a joint session of the City Council and School Committee, a meeting designed to pick a new School Committee person.
Already, two candidates are in contention, with Amanda (Burley) Patterson and Millie Cardello seeking commitments from members of the Council and School Committees. Both confirmed their candidacy to the Independent in phone interviews on Tuesday, Dec. 26.
There has been no official tally of the votes, but many believe that the race is knotted at 9-9.
The vacancy comes after the sudden Dec. 2 death of Richard Baniewicz – a long time School Committeeman. After his death, the vacancy on the board arose, and outgoing City Councilor Cynthia Sarnie put her name into the mix. It was believed that she had the position wrapped up, until the State Ethics Commission issued guidance to the City that she wasn’t eligible under the City Charter.
That changed everything, and that’s what resulted in the current contest between Cardello and Patterson.
Cardello is a former City official, and said she was ready to come full circle after having served on the School Committee for six years in the past. She also was a member of the Common Council and the Board of Alderman in the City’s former structure of government.
Cardello said she wasn’t intending to run against Sarnie, but after the ruling came back, she decided to test the waters.
“I heard Amanda was going for it and everyone was for her, but when I talked to people, it seemed they were for her if there was no one else,” she said. “They indicated that they might vote for someone else if there was a choice. So, I threw my name in there too to see what happens…At this point, I’m getting commitments and seeing where it goes. The vote is a week and a half away, so we really need to start working on this and see where everyone stands now that Christmas is over.”
Cardello said she would like to see a unanimous vote by Jan. 8, meaning she hopes that commitments will fall in line for either she or Patterson before the vote.
“Everyone is getting along so well, so I would like a unanimous vote,” she said. “Be it Amanda or me or someone else – a unanimous vote brings everyone together. I want peace on Earth. If we can’t start right in our own city, where do we start? I see the meetings and the camaraderie between both boards is very unified…I don’t want any hard feelings.”
Patterson is a graduate of Everett High School, Class of 2004, and has moved back to Everett with her husband, Gershon Patterson. She is the daughter of the Council Clerk John Burley.
Patterson said she was very active in high school, including cheerleading for football and basketball and on the varsity softball team. She was also the treasurer of the National Honor Society. She graduated from the University of Connecticut and works for Equity Residential managing a 420-unit building in downtown Boston.
She said her candidacy is about wanting to give back to her hometown.
“It’s something I’m passionate about,” she said. “I came back to Everett after five years in Washington, D.C. Everett is my home. I came back to Everett with my husband to be closer to family and to start our own family here. I want the school system to progress for all students and also for my children in the future.”
Patterson, 31, said she is interested in adding her perspective on college choice and college financing to students and parents as a member of the Committee.
Both candidates said they have reached out to all members of the School Committee and City Council, as well as Supt. Fred Foresteire.