Voters choose Mitchell, Griffin
School board elections see low turnout
Voters on Tuesday elected Angela Mitchell and Meredith Griffin Jr. to the Christina School Board.
According to Department of Election officials, who called turnout “abysmal,” only 1.2 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot.
In Nominating District B, Mitchell edged out three competitors with 480 votes, which is approximately 39 percent of the votes cast. Justin Day came in second with 457 votes, followed by Monica Moriak with 232 and Karen Sobotker with 72. She will fill the seat of Meg Mason, who abruptly resigned less than a year into her term, and will serve until 2021.
Mitchell, a 33-year-old resident of Richards Lane near Newark, is a former teacher at Bancroft Elementary and West Park Place Elementary. She has three kids in the district, two at the Christina Early Education Center and one in the Delaware Autism Program.
After attending Christina schools growing up, she’s disappointed the district has declined.
“I’ve seen what it was once,” Mitchell said prior to the election. “I want my kids to have the same wonderful experience.”
She said she hopes to advocate for special needs students and other vulnerable groups.
“I see myself being a voice for those populations,” she said.
Mitchell said she wants the district to increase opportunities for students to receive bilingual education and wants to bring an inclusion model to the Delaware Autism Program.
In Nominating District G, Griffin took 828 votes, or 60 percent, easily defeating Jeffrey Day, who had 369 votes, and Kimara Smith, who had 179. He will replace incumbent Shirley Sutton-Saffer, who did not seek reelection, and serve until 2022.
Griffin, 51, who lives in the Timber Farms neighborhood east of Newark, is the founding pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship and currently serves on the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission and the Rodel Foundation of Delaware Advisory Committee. Previously, he served on the Delaware Charter School Network Governing Board and the board of the now-defunct Maurice J. Moyer Academic Institute.
During his campaign, he said he wants to see Christina become a “destination district,” instead of thousands of students leaving to go to charter or choice schools.
His older child graduated from Christiana High School, but his younger child is a senior at Newark Charter School.
“I understand the difficult decisions 6,000 parents have made,” he said, referring to the decision to send a child to a non-Christina school. “The question the district has to wrestle with is how to stem the tide.”
He said improving the district has to start with good leadership on the board.
“If there’s turmoil on the board, your district personnel don’t feel confident they’re being led in the right direction, and that trickles down,” Griffin said.
He added that Christina needs to work on improving its reputation by “screaming from the rooftops” about good things going on in the district, rather than allowing negative experiences to dominate the conversation.
Neither candidate could be reached for comment following Tuesday’s election.