For the first time in six years, there will be no Cape Henlopen school board election because the only candidate is unopposed.
Rehoboth Beach resident and newcomer Julie Derrick, 34, was the only person to file for the area D seat vacated by Jen Burton, who decided not to run for re-election. An area D candidate must live in the Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach area that runs south to the Indian River Inlet bridge, however, all residents within the Cape Henlopen School District can vote in school board elections.
Derrick will be sworn in to the 5-year school board seat in July.
Before deciding to run, the mother of three said she spoke with board member Jessica Tyndall and former board member Camilla Conlon, and both were encouraging. Derrick said she also felt it was a good time to get involved, although there are no particular issues facing the school district that motivated her to run for the board.
As owner, with husband Jim, of Shell We Bounce, Derrick said she has met many young families in the area.
“I feel like I have my finger on the pulse,” she said. “I'm interfacing with families on a regular basis, families from all backgrounds.”
Derrick graduated from Caesar Rodney High School in 2000 and earned a bachelor's degree in music from University of Virginia in 2004. After graduation, she spent a summer working at the beach that changed her life: she met her husband and the two moved to California. She worked in the music and art industry before the two married and moved back to Delaware in 2009. She earned a master’s degree from Wilmington University for K-6 elementary education.
Derrick said she was a substitute music teacher at Mariner Middle, while her husband worked at his family's business, the Sea Shell Shop.
The couple's first daughter was born 2011, and a second came in 2012. Their son was born in 2015.
Derrick said everyone on the school board has been welcoming, and she plans to learn as much as she can.
“I miss teaching, but I'm not in a place to go back to teaching right now. This is a great way for me to be involved,” Derrick said. “I'd like to make Cape Henlopen School District the best it can be.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that there will be no election. Cape Henlopen school board president Andy Lewis ran unopposed in 2014 for the area C seat.