Tunnicliffe and Rothstein win BOE seats

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — Choosing between three challengers for just two open seats on the West Orange Board of Education, voters decided Nov. 5 to elect Jennifer Tunnicliffe and Gary Rothstein to the board. As of press time on election night, with every West Orange district reporting in, Tunnicliffe took a decided lead, with Rothstein coming in second. They will take the seats vacated by longtime board members Sandra Mordecai and Mark Robertson.

All results from the Nov. 5 election remain unofficial until certified by County Clerk Christopher Durkin.

According to the Essex County Clerk’s Office website on election night, Tunnicliffe received 3,976 votes, or 43.72 percent, while Rothstein garnered 2,780 votes, or 30.57 percent. Fellow candidate Jeremias Salinas came in third, with 2,304 votes, or 25.33 percent.

There were 35 write-in votes.

“I feel really good and I’m so proud of my team,” Tunnicliffe told the West Orange Chronicle in an election night phone interview. “We worked really hard on this campaign, met a lot of great people and got even closer to West Orange. I’m just so excited to have done this in my first run. I’m pretty amazed.”

As she gears up to take her seat on the board, Tunnicliffe is setting her mind on some of the budgetary necessities that will be coming up in 2020.

“The budget process is first and foremost in my mind, as well as the fact that we are going to be working on the teachers’ contracts. Those are the top two priorities right now,” she said, adding that the board will also be reviewing reports in the coming year in regard to the facilities plan. “Of course, we’ll do all this while always monitoring student achievement and ensuring our continued progress there.”

Rothstein could not be reached election night for comment.

“Concern for my daughter’s education is at the heart of my interest in the Board of Education,” he said in a prior statement to the Chronicle. “Along with that concern, I bring experience and expertise that will inform my decisions. I was an English teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, a very large district with students from many different backgrounds, cultures and socioeconomic circumstances.”