Candidates seek election for Jamesville-DeWitt Board of Education

On May 21, district residents will elect three members to the Jamesville-DeWitt Central School District Board of Education. Two candidates filed nominating petitions. Voters will also have the option to submit a write-in candidate. The three candidates with the highest number of votes will fill the available seats. If a third candidate cannot be determined from write-in votes, the Board of Education will select the best process to fill the open seat as outlined by New York state law. Each term will run from July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2027.

Voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the J-D High School Gymnasium, 6845 Edinger Dr., DeWitt. More information about the proposed budget and the vote is available on the Budget and Finance web page.  

The board of education candidates are listed below in alphabetical order:

    • Lynn Cortese
    • Jalal Zoghby

Information about each candidate is below in the same order:

Lynn Cortese is seeking her first term on the J-D Board of Education. She is an 8-year resident of the district. She and her husband Ben Cortese have two children: one at Moses DeWitt and the other is in the J-D UPK program at RECC. Prior to the summer of 2022, she was the Director of the Office of Access, Opportunity, and Achievement at Ithaca College for five years. Her responsibilities included grant writing and reporting, budget oversight, and developing partnerships with key student service offices, administrators, and faculty. She has a master’s degree in Social Work from Syracuse University, a bachelor of science degree in Psychology and Social Work from SUNY Brockport, and a high school diploma from Scotia-Glenville. She serves as the Moses DeWitt Parent-Teacher-Student-Association secretary and also serves on the CNYLA Advisory Board. 

Candidate statement: 

As the daughter of an elementary school teacher, my passion for education began at a very young age, inspiring me to pursue a degree in social work and a career in higher education focused on increasing educational access, cultivating student success, and breaking down barriers to academic achievement. My experiences in data-driven decision-making, budget development and management, and engaging key stakeholders to enhance student outcomes will foster success as a board member. If elected, I will listen to the concerns of all constituents and seek collaborative, creative solutions in service of our students and school community. 

Jalal Zoghby is seeking his second term on the J-D Board of Education. He is an 18-year resident of the district. He and his wife Eileen have four children, two of which are still attending J-D schools: one at J-DHS and one at Moses DeWitt. He attended high school at Saint Joseph School in Lebanon and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in international business from Syracuse University through Utica College. He is a self-employed licensed sales representative providing insurance and financial service through a State Farm Insurance office that he runs with his wife. He has taught religious education at Holy Cross Church for the past 23 years.

Candidate statement: 

What I do professionally is listen to people’s concerns and needs and help them find solutions. As an immigrant, I understand that culture and diversity is what makes up our community. When working with clients, not everyone responds the same way. I carefully deal with individuals on their terms, so we can work together to solve problems. This is how I approach raising my children. As a father of four with a special needs child who had medical challenges, I quickly understood that every child has different needs. I will use this knowledge combined with the experience that I gained over the past three years as a school board member to help make decisions that benefit our district.