Six candidates have filed for three seats up for grabs in the Cape school board election Tuesday, May 14.
Incumbent Andy Lewis and Janet Maull-Martin will compete for the Area C seat. Calvin Jackson is challenging incumbent Alison Myers for an at-large seat; both are five-year terms.
Chuck Mowll and Bill Collick are running to fill the last year of board member Roni Posner’s at-large seat. Cape Superintendent Bob Fulton announced in December 2018 that Posner would resign her seat effective June 30, one year short of her five-year term.
Area C candidates must live in the Lewes and Angola area, however, all residents 18 years and older living within the Cape Henlopen School District can vote in school board elections.
Janet Maull-Martin, a member of Cape High’s first graduating class, is a familiar face in the Cape district, having been a teacher, coach, Title 1 Coordinator, assistant vice principal and principal during her career. Her son JD Maull is head football coach at Cape High and her granddaughter is a Mariner Middle student.
“I am not running against anyone,” she said. “I am running for the students. I am very proud of this district; it’s very special to me, and I want to make sure we provide the best education for all of our students.”
After retiring twice from the district, Maull-Martin said now is the time for her to give back to the community once more. “What better way than to give back to our young people?”
Maull-Martin said she has another reason to run.
“I also believe that we lack minority representation on the board,” she said.
Andy Lewis is seeking his third term on the board. He said with his sons, both Cape grads, now in college, he has more time than ever to serve.
“I never ran for this for my kids,” he said. “As long as I can be helpful and useful on the board, I will continue, and I think I am.”
Lewis said the board’s accomplishments include passing three referendums to build new schools and creating the Spanish immersion program. He said the district is also looking to bring world languages to the middle-school level, and thinks training students for jobs in the trades is important.
“I just try to do what’s best for all kids, and that’s been my catchphrase my whole time on the board,” he said. “I just want our kids to have the opportunity to be the best they can be, and that doesn’t necessarily mean college. We have to help kids find what they are passionate about, so they can strive to be great.”
First elected in 2014, Alison Myers is a former special education teacher with degrees in economics, education and educational leadership. As board president for the past year, she is also on the district’s safety and climate and buildings and grounds committees.
“Overall, we are very focused on improvement as a board and district,” she said.
Myers said last summer the board went through a strategic planning process to determine the district’s most pressing goals, identified as improving communication and relationships with parents and staff.
Once all construction is complete, Myers said she would like to find a way financially to support a pre-K classroom in each elementary school.
She and husband Rob have five children: Bella, a Cape 10th grader; Aubrie, a Beacon Middle seventh-grader; Rylie and Robbie, fourth- and first-graders at Shields Elementary; and Bryn, a toddler.
Calvin Jackson said the district’s diverse population has not been adequately represented on the school board for several years.
After 35 years at the National Institutes of Health, he retired to Lewes two years ago, and soon joined the Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice, serving as co-chair of the communications committee and on the outreach committee.
Jackson said he became involved with school issues when parents voiced concerns after a bus was spray-painted with profanity and a racial slur in 2017. Jackson said these concerns, along with a noticeable lack of teacher diversity, gave rise to the district’s Community Minority Liaison Committee.
“The district has been very responsive,” he said. “We have moved the needle a little, but I would like to see it move a little more.”
Jackson said closing the achievement gap and solving disparity in school discipline are important.
“Certain students are not held to the same standards as others, and we need to find out why,” he said. “I want all kids to have the same opportunity for a good, quality education regardless of their gender, ethnicity or background. There should be the same playing field for all.”
Jackson and his wife have three grown children.
At-large one-year term
Rehoboth High graduate Chuck Mowll said his roots run deep in the Cape district. His mother, a Rehoboth High librarian, was also the first librarian at Cape High, and his two grandchildren attend Rehoboth Elementary. He is a member of Cape’s citizen’s budget oversight committee.
Mowll said he supported the district’s new schools, but said quality teachers and academic performance are most important; he favors a student-centered, individualized approach and small class sizes.
During his career with The Joint Commission, Mowll said he developed expertise in safety and safe practices for hospitals, knowledge he would carry with him on the school board.
“I hope to focus on student safety,” he said. “I don’t see enough taking place that gives me the assurance the district is doing everything it should to protect the safety of students and teachers. Aesthetics are nice, and our schools are pretty, but were vulnerabilities considered when they were designed?”
Mowll said he would like to work with parents, students, teachers and administrators to create a healthy school climate where everyone can succeed.
Bill Collick, former Cape High football coach and dean of students, retired in June 2018 after 18 years with the district and 43 years in education. He said he chose to run for school board to give back to the community that helped him succeed.
Early in his career, Collick taught at Rehoboth Elementary, then coached football at Delaware State University for nearly 20 years. After a stint at Sussex Tech, his former teacher and then-Cape interim Superintendent Dave Robinson asked him to join Cape High.
“It was a tremendous opportunity for me to return,” Collick said. “It was the highlight of my career.”
At the time, Collick said, Cape High was under state review. Collick said he worked with the new administration and staff to help turn the school around, earning it a National Blue Ribbon Award in 2015.
Collick mentors at Cape High several times a week and would like to expand the program district-wide. “I can’t say enough about what mentoring means and can do for young people.”
Collick said the district has made great strides in hiring diverse teachers and he would like to see that continue. “We live in a diverse world, and our kids need to be involved and exposed to diversity.”
Candidates have until 4:30 p.m., Friday, March 1 to file.