Chad Wood, a recent graduate of Sparta High School, has become one of the youngest individuals ever elected to a school board seat in New Jersey. At just 18 years old, he has won a spot on the Sparta Board of Education, less than a year after graduating from Sparta High School.
The incoming board member's story caught the attention of NJ.com, who profiled Wood online and in the Star-Ledger. During his tenure as a student representative to the board of education, Wood made an impact, notably disagreeing with the board president’s motion to stop live-streaming school board meetings, arguing that it would prevent working parents and others from participating virtually. His counterproposal to find volunteers for recording led to the motion’s failure.
Wood’s assertiveness continued to shine through in subsequent meetings. When a controversy arose over relocating a book from the middle school to the high school, Wood stood up to speak as a member of the public after being denied the opportunity to speak from his seat at the board table.
His running mates, Jennifer Lonsky and Kaitlin Gagnon, have noticed his increasing vocal presence as board controversies have escalated. This was particularly evident when the district made headlines after parental rights advocates gained board control and dropped a policy protecting transgender students, leading to a no-confidence vote from the teachers’ union against five board members.
Wood, Lonsky, and Gagnon will join the board after incumbents Christina Keiling, Walter Knapp, and LeeAnn Pitzer's terms conclude at the end of the year. Sparta Board of Education terms last 3 years.