NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There was a school board surprise in the northern suburbs.
The kind of candidate who seldom runs, and who didn’t expect to win, took the top spot in Tuesday’s vote, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.
He lives with his mom, is not married and has no kids. Yet, Will Iannuzzi received the most votes in Tuesday’s school board election.
“Oh, very surprised. I honestly wasn’t expecting it,” Iannuzzi, 26, told Aiello on Wednesday.
Iannuzzi impressed voters with his drive to help young people.
After graduating New Rochelle High School in 2010, Iannuzzi went to work for the Boys & Girls Club. He has guided and mentored hundreds of youngsters and connected with their families, experience that will inform his approach to school board service.
“Working at the club, the word we use is ‘equitable programming,’ to make sure that every kid has the same opportunity to succeed in life,” Iannuzzi said.
It has been a rough two years for New Rochelle schools, amid safety concerns and turmoil at the central office.
“We have an interim superintendent, interim business administrator, interim high school principal,” he said.
One 25-year school board veteran said Iannuzzi’s youth may work in his favor.
“He doesn’t bring any baggage,” David Lacher said. “I think that’s one plus, but the main thing is his contact with students and his understanding of their concerns.”
Without necessarily embracing her politics, Iannuzzi said he was inspired by the example of a certain local member of Congress, who also graduated from a Westchester County high school. He thought if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could run and win, why couldn’t he?
“Everybody who wants to step up and make a difference should be stepping up and making a difference,” Iannuzzi said.
He formally joins the school board on July 1.
New Rochelle voters chose two school board members on Tuesday. Neither winner has children. Joining Iannuzzi will be Valarie Williams, who works as a teacher in Greenburgh.