This story has been updated from a previous version that had incomplete election results.

CAMDEN, NJ — Voters turned out in force on Tuesday for the city’s historic election day, which saw the first publicly elected school board officials since the state’s 2013 takeover. 

Nine candidates competed for three open three-year seats on the Camden City School District’s nine-member board. School board members serve in an advisory role to the superintendent but do not have the authority to vote or approve items. 

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Education for Everyone candidates Nyemah Gillespie was the top-vote getter and an apparent winner with 2,070 votes, according an unofficial tally by the Camden County Board of Elections.

Falio Leyba-Martinez, who ran on the Education for Everyone ticket, was the next highest vote getter with 1,742 votes. Finishing in third was Camden Votes candidates Elton Custis with 1,604 votes.

Camden Votes candidates JeNell McRae and Tyann La-Shae Wall and Education for Everyone candidate Troy Still had less than 13 votes separating them.

Although all 40 Camden precincts are tallied, vote-by-mail ballots are still being counted and a more complete vote tally is not expected to be released until later today.

Gillespie, owner and director of the Dance 2 Dance school, previously told TAPinto Camden she plans to employ her mentorship skills as a teacher and increase community involvement in her role. Custis’, a mental health specialist and drug and alcohol counselor with Jefferson Health System, has said his background guides his focus on equity and accountability in education. 

Public school board elections were restored following a 2018 referendum in which residents took back control from the state with a 62 percent majority.

UNOFFICIAL SCHOOL RESULTS

Candidate (Slate) Votes
Theo Spencer 1,124
Nyemah Gillespie (Education for Everyone)  2,070
Falio Leyba-Martinez (Education for Everyone) 1,742
Troy Still (Education for Everyone) 1,533
Angel M. Cordero 735
Tyann La-Shae Wall (Camden Votes) 1,541
Elton Custis (Camden Votes) 1,604
Je'nell McRae (Camden Votes) 1,546
Aaron Cooper 693

Apparent winners in bold.

Democrats again took city council, tallying a total 3,097 votes. Shaneka Boucher won Ward 1 with 817 votes and Victor Carstarphen tallied 663 votes for Ward 2, while Ward 3 candidate Felisha Reyes-Morton and Ward 4 candidate Marilyn Torres ran unopposed.

Democrats also took the three open seats on the Camden County Board of Chosen Freeholders, with Melinda Kane taking the unexpired term while incumbents Edward McDonnell and Carmen Rodriguez were re-elected.