SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

November 6, 2013

Visnick ousts Decker from School Committee

By Jonathan Phelps
Staff writer

---- — BEVERLY — Lorinda Visnick upset School Committee President Maria Decker in yesterday’s Ward 6 election.

During her campaign, the 48-year-old Visnick said there needs to be more representation on the School Committee from all levels of the city’s schools — elementary to high school. She also promised to fight to make the building of a new middle school an open and transparent process.

This is her first time running for political office, and she celebrated last night with family, friends and supporters at Acapulcos Restaurant at the Cummings Center.

“I am elated,” she said. “I am very much looking forward to serving the people of Beverly. It is an honor and a privilege to be elected.”

Decker, 53, has served on the committee for 10 years. She could not be reached for comment last night.

Longtime School Committee member Annemarie McNulty-Cesa, 57, was re-elected in Ward 5 after spending 10 years on the committee. She beat challenger Duane Anderson 1,047 votes to 533.

McNulty-Cesa will be the longest-serving committee member.

“It was a time I could bring experience and continuity,” she previously said, noting that Mayor Bill Scanlon is not seeking re-election and the district is in the process of hiring a new superintendent.

Visnick beat Decker 1,192 votes to 972.

“I knocked on a lot of doors. I got my message out, and I had a lot of help,” Visnick said. “Nobody wins a seat by themselves.”

Visnick, a software engineer, said there’s been only one public forum on the project to build a new middle school, and she wants to bring more transparency and openness to the project to make sure people aren’t left in the dark. The new school will be built at the site of the former Memorial Middle School, with a September 2017 target date to open.

“That whole process has to be blown open,” she said, in terms of information getting out to the public. “I think we need to look at the superintendent candidates and see if any of the four of them are really qualified and the best person to lead Beverly where it needs to go.”

Visnick is looking forward to getting started.

“For me being new, I want to get in there and learn as much as I can before I get sworn in so I can hit the ground running,” she said.

Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at jphelps@salemnews.com. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.