SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Pio Pennisi is seeking election to the South Plainfield Board of Education (BOE); Pennisi, a resident for 50 years, previously served on the South Plainfield Board for five non-consecutive terms.

BOE elections will be held with the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 4 and this year four candidates are vying for three at-large seats.

A retired superintendent of Dunellen Schools, Pennisi has close to 35 years of education experience. He held numerous positions throughout his career in Dunellen, serving as a teacher, assistant principal, athletic director, supervisor of technology and middle school and high school principal before serving as superintendent for seven years. He also served as Dunellen’s football, baseball, softball and girls basketball coach and, up until his retirement in June, was a member of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletics Association, sitting on its Eligibility and Controversy committees.

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A graduate of South Plainfield School, Pennisi earned his bachelors degree in biology and teaching certification from Montclair State University and his masters in administration and supervision from Kean University. Pennisi and his wife, Lynn, raised their two children, Kelly and Christopher, in South Plainfield and, on a local front, he was a coach for the South Plainfield’s Baseball and Soccer clubs. Additionally, he is a member of Dunellen Lion’s Club and former member of the Dunellen Rotary Club.

Pennisi said he is running for the school board because he has a vested interested in South Plainfield. “I have been here my whole life and I don’t plan on going anywhere,” he said. “I want the town, the school, to improve where it can. It’s a good system but there is always room for improvement.”

Pennisi feels his background will be valuable to his home district because he can bring to the table “an understanding of what is going on in every aspect of the district, whether it is finance, curriculum, buildings and grounds” and feels his professional experience s will come into play in the near future when it is time for South Plainfield to hire a new superintendent. “I have contact with other districts in the county and in education that can be of help to South Plainfield,” he said.  

At the same time, however, Pennisi understands that as a board member his job is not to run the school district. “I can step in and there is no learning curve for me,” he said. “As a board member, my role is set policy.”

Additionally, Pennisi said he is running for the board because he cares about the community he calls home and, despite retiring from his day job in June, has no plans to move out of South Plainfield. “I have no personal agenda. I plan on being here, staying here,” he said, noting, “South Plainfield has a good school system and I want to be there to make sure it continues to be good, not only for our current students but for the people who live here.”

Editor's note: Information for all profiles have been supplied by each candidate, opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher, nor do we guarantee their accuracy.