Board of Education Candidates: Part One
This is Rutherford asked the five Board of Education Candidates a set of biographical interview questions to help our readers learn more about each of them.
Before the end of the month, the candidates will also be asked a set of interview questions regarding more detailed information about their reasons for running for the Board of Education and their goals.
Their profiles are published in the order they were received.
Rutherford resident for twenty years, Laurie Corizzo has two children, both of which attended Rutherford Public schools. Her son graduated from Rutherford High School.
Laurie is an Elementary School Counselor. In addition to being a School Counselor, she is also a certified teacher who is starting her 25th year in public education.
As soon as her son started Kindergarten, Laurie immediately became involved in the local PTA. As he grew, so too did her level of involvement. "It has long been my belief that the older your children get, the more you need to be “present” in their lives," Laurie told TIR. She has been a class parent, chaired committees, coordinated school dances, and maintained fluid communication with district staff. Laurie has held many PTA executive board positions, including Secretary, Vice President, President, and currently the President of the PT Council in town. In so far as sports, she and her husband have volunteered in the local Recreation soccer, baseball, football/cheer, and wrestling programs. In addition, their son wrestled and played football, and baseball at the High School. Recently, she participated in the Rutgers coaching class sponsored by the Recreation Department so she can become a coach in town. Finally, she has coordinated and participated in, multiple fundraisers in town all to the benefit and betterment of our children.
Laurie was born and raised in Middlesex County, New Jersey. Her mother was a teacher and retired after 34 years in the classroom. Her father worked in insurance all his life, culminating with him owning his own business. Upon completing High School at St. Thomas Aquinas in Edison, Laurie attended Seton Hall University, majoring in Psychology. After finishing her Bachelor of Science, Laurie "shuffled off" to Pennsylvania, and finished her Master's Degree in Elementary School Counseling at Marywood University. Laurie wasn't quite done with education yet, since she obtained her teaching certificate from Caldwell College in their Post Baccalaureate Teacher Certification Program. In addition to two years of teaching, she has spent the majority of my career as a School Counselor, a profession I adore. September 2022 will be the start of my 25th year in public education.
In 2002, Laurie and her husband Frank were married and bought their first home on a beautiful street in Rutherford. “Quite honestly, the primary reason we chose the town was for the schools,” Laurie explained. In 2003, they welcomed their son, and in 2010, their daughter. When her son was in a carriage, they visited the Rutherford Library. There, we met Mrs. Jones, a current BOE member. In their conversation with her, Laurie mentioned that someday she wanted to run for the BOE. She encouraged her to volunteer, become involved in the PTAs, and when the time was right, look to run. “I took her advice, and well, here I am!!!” Laurie told TIR.
Education and children are Laurie’s passions. Tirelessly, she and her husband have volunteered and supported the PTAs as well as sports programs in town. Currently,as the President of the PT Council, and get to work closely with the Superintendent, as well as all the PTA Presidents. “Raising our children here has been an incredible experience for our family. I feel that my background, education, and life experiences all lend themselves to making me a valuable asset, and viable candidate to run for the Board of Education,” explained Laurie.
Rutherford Resident for twenty-one years, Dennis Mazone (Incumbent) has three children attending Rutherford Public Schools, Max (12th grade), Jack (10th grade) at RHS, and Phoebe (7th grade) at Union School.
Dennis is currently the Assistant Vice President for Campus Safety & Preparedness at Pratt Institute. He is responsible for leading Institute-wide campus safety and preparedness efforts while ensuring a safe, resilient, and sustainable campus, as well as maintaining a welcoming environment for all community members.
Dennis has been very active in the community for nearly the past 15 years and his contributions include the following prior and current volunteer experiences:
Rutherford Recreation - Sports Coach (Baseball, Basketball, and Soccer)
Rutherford Scouting - Cub and Scout Leader
Rutherford EMS - EMT
Rutherford Downhill Derby Committee
Rutherford Board of Health
Rutherford Board of Education
Dennis is a career public safety professional and crisis management leader with experience overseeing multiple complex operations, and building relationships while working across disciplines to create and maintain a safe, adaptive, productive, and scalable environment. He has a Master of Arts Degree, in Criminal Justice, from Monmouth University in 2003 and graduated from the Naval Postgraduate School; Center for Homeland Defense & Security, Executive Leadership Program(ELP).
Professionally, Dennis served both local and state law enforcement, retiring in 2014 from the State of New Jersey's Attorney General’s Office, Division of Criminal Justice, where he earned the rank of Deputy Chief of Detectives. Upon retirement, Dennis was the Director for Special Operations at the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner, before starting my employment at Pratt Institute in 2018.
Dennis was first appointed to the Rutherford BOE in February 2016 and has subsequently been elected for two, three-year terms (November 2016 & November 2019). “Since joining the BOE I’ve had the honor of being the Vice President in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 and served on the following Committees * Building & Grounds, *Strategic Planning, Finance, Policy, and Curriculum and Instruction,” explained Dennis.
*former committee chair
Rutherford resident for fourteen years, Chris Conti (Incumbent)and his “fabulous wife” Kim have two boys, Charlie and Cooper. Charlie is an 8th Grader at Union and Cooper is a 5th Grader at Pierrepont.
Chris is the Chief Innovation Officer at the Production Resource Group. PRG is a global supplier of Lighting, Audio, and Video equipment as well as Scenery, Cameras, and Production Services to Broadway Shows, Concert Tours, TV Shows, Movies, and Special Events. “I lead a team of people who develop proprietary equipment as well as provide training and support,” Chris told TIR.
Chris was involved in Cub Scouts as a leader. He helped coach two Lacrosse Teams in town. He has also helped run community events like the Downhill Derby, and he is a current member of the Board of Education.
Chris is also a certified Ski Patroller so during the winter he also volunteers at Mountain Creek Ski Area as a Patroller providing outdoor emergency response and care.
Chris is also an Eagle Scout.
Rutherford resident for 17 years, James Sprayberry (Incumbent) has two sons. TJ has attended the Rutherford Public Schools from Kindergarten- 5th Grade. He currently attends Pierrepont Elementary. JP has attended 1st-8th grade in the Rutherford Public Schools and is currently a freshman at Bergen Technical Academies Teterboro.
James is currently a Director/Account Executive Tritech Communications -Rutherford Office (Audio/Visual, IT and Security).
James has been very active in the community over the last fourteen years. Here are some of the ways he has been involved:
Board of Education:
Board of Education Trustee
Buildings and Ground - Chair (2 years)
PTA Liaison - Pierrepont and Union Middle Schools
Contract Negotiating Committee - Administrators Union
Rutherford Little League Coach
Guest Reader at Pierrepont School
PTA Member at Pierrepont and Union Schools
“I am a U.S. Navy Veteran who is active in the community in supporting our students, schools, and community,” explained James.
Patrick Baselice is a first-generation Rutherford resident who chose to move to Rutherford several years ago. He was originally born and raised in Bergen County. “I do not have children, but I hope to one day start a family here which was one of the reasons I decided to move here several years ago. Rutherford is an amazing community and I am grateful to have many friends here who are very happy to call Rutherford home and to have raised their children here.”
Patrick is a former elementary education teacher and is currently a small business owner. He runs a consulting business and a photography company, both of which he started.
Patrick told TIR, “I would like to take a moment to first thank the current Board members, teachers, faculty, and staff that have worked under the most difficult circumstances over the last several years. I also want to thank the Mayor and Council, as well as all first responders, for helping Rutherford residents move forward and get through these difficult times we all endured. You all worked extremely hard to help our community and specifically the students and for that reason, I say thank you. I would also like to thank all parents. You were in a very difficult situation during the pandemic, yet you strived to help your children through in-person learning while balancing work. You all sacrificed a great deal over the last three years. To be perfectly honest, as proud as I am of the work I did to help the families in the communities that I have lived in, it will never compare to what all of you have done.”
Patrick is running for the Board of Education to be part of a team of people who will help the next generation of Rutherford residents excel.
For nearly 30 years, Patrick has been active in different communities that he has been a part of. He was a former CYO basketball coach, Scout leader, and teacher.
For the last several years, Patrick has worked as a consultant and community organizer helping people in several towns—which included Rutherford—stand up for issues they believe in against issues that negatively impacted their community. This includes the overdevelopment issue with Felician University which Rutherford residents worked to organize against in 2019.
“I feel that serving on this board will afford me that opportunity to apply the unique perspective I had in the classroom, as well as the ability to work together with others to create positive change,” explained Patrick.
Patrick is proud to come from a family of military, police, and teachers. He is the youngest of six children and was raised by a single mother who was legally disabled. “If not for her hard work and sacrifice, a community of compassionate and caring individuals, as well as teachers and guidance counselors, I don’t know where I would be today,” Patrick told TIR.
Patrick went to college, but also pursued additional education to become a teacher while also being active in my community.
“I am asking for Rutherford residents to give me the opportunity to make a positive change in the lives of students in the same way that education made a positive difference in my life,” Patrick told TIR.