Bayonne school board candidate forum set for November 2

All nine candidates have agreed to participate in the event

The Bayonne Education Association will host a candidate forum for the upcoming Board of Education elections ahead of Election Day, according to BEA President Gene Woods.

TAPinto Bayonne’s Al Sullivan will moderate the event on Wednesday, November 2 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Alexander X. O’Connor Auditorium at Bayonne High School.

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Woods said that Sullivan has reached out to each of the candidates running in the election. As of Thursday, October 20, all candidates have confirmed their attendance with him, Woods told the Bayonne Community News.

Nine candidates have filed to run in the upcoming Bayonne Board of Education election. The election will be held on Tuesday, November 8, and four seats are up for grabs for a varying amount of years.

Three seats are available for a term of three years each. The terms of Trustees Lisa Burke, Jan Patrick Egan, and Denis Wilbeck are expiring and none are running for re-election.

On top of those three seats, there is another board seat available for a term of one year. Trustee Hector Gonzalez, Jr.’s term is expiring after he was appointed in January of this year.

Gonzalez is running for re-election on the “Together We Can” slate with former Board of Education Trustee and former City Councilwoman Mary Jane Desmond; Miriam Bechay, a junior at NJIT majoring in Biomedical Engineering who has worked on political campaigns in the city; and William Young, a Financial Services and Registered Representative for New York Life Insurance Company.

The candidates on the “Together We Can” slate will face the “Voices For Progress” slate, which features: previous candidate and educator at P.S. 17 in Jersey City Gina Irizarry; Angelique Jackson-Belle, a businesswoman, community activist, and President of the Board of Directors of the Bayonne Youth Center; Ali Hassan, who works in the financial sector as the co-founder and CEO of Crescent Crypto Asset Management; and Saverio “Sam” Maggio, a retired Bayonne public school teacher.

Bechay and Hassan are seeking the one-year term while the others on their respective slates are seeking the three-year terms. Running independent of a slate on the “Education is Freedom” ticket is Jahnbaz Almas, a board member of the Bayonne Education Foundation who is running for a three-year term.

So far, things have been largely quiet in the lead up to the election. The only recent major happening has been Mayor James Davis opting to endorse  the “Voices for Progress” ticket, his first endorsement in a school board race since 2020, noting it was a top priority and one of his “first orders of business” for his third term as mayor.

For updates on this and other stories, check and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at

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