Making Democracy Work


Who is on the ballot in the next election? Information about candidates

Video of the Candidate Forum, June 4 2020: Share recording with viewers: Password: 6P^80S0k

2020 School Board Candidate Biographical Information [Compiled and edited by the League of Women Voters of Geneva from Information either provided by the candidates or gleaned from public sources.]

Candidates: (in alphabetical order)

Fred Brockway, Samuel Cappiello, Sarah Cupelli, Michael Ellis, Brian Finnerty, Antonio Gomez, Michelle Higgins-Corbet, Lisa Pietrocarlo, and RJ Rapoza.

Fred Brockway

Fred Brockway, a prominent volunteer and is currently Board President of Family Counseling Service of the Finger Lakes. He is known for his charitable work for local and regional non-profit organizations including the Smith Opera House, BluePrint Geneva and Growing Cycle, Inc. He is caretaker of Geneva's Butterfly Gardens for the protection of pollinators. He is a member of Thrive to Survive, a cancer support group and is a hospice volunteer. He was an active member of the former community group, Tools for Social Change.

Samuel Cappiello

Originally from Rochester, Samuel moved to Geneva in 2007. He studied Linguistics and Brain & Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester. He has worked as an Interpreter for the Deaf since 2001 in both educational and private settings. From 2010 to 2020, he was on the faculty of Hobart and William Smith Colleges where he taught American Sign Language and coordinated interpreting services. He served one three-year term on Geneva's Ethics Committee and was an active leader of the Historic North Neighborhood from 2015-2019. He received the distinction of Fellow, Mayor's Institute for Civic Engagement in 2017 for completing all of the Geneva Citizens Academies. He is now Assistant Director of Programs for the Deaf/ASL Education - Vision, Orientation & Mobility Department of Monroe One BOCES in Rochester, NY. His department serves over 150 students in more than 25 school districts across several counties in the Finger Lakes. He and his partner, Matthew Craig, are foster parents through Ontario County DSS.

Sarah Cupelli

Sarah is the Assistant Superintendent for the Greater Auburn School District. She is a long-time resident of Geneva. She graduated from Geneva High School, obtained her BA degree from Hobart & William Smith Colleges and her Master's in Education from Keuka College. Her children have attended Geneva City Schools .Sarah has been active in education for the last 18 years as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and assistant superintendent.

Michael Ellis

Michael is a sitting member on the Geneva City School Board of Education. He joined the board in 2015 for a five-year term. He is an experienced board member having 11 years total as a board member of a school district and 6 years as a WFL BOCES board member.  He has resided in Geneva for the past 8 years, and is an Oncology Doctor. He brings his scientific acumen and professionalism to the Board. He is seeking a second term.

Brian Finnerty

Brian is an active member of the Geneva Volunteer Fire Department and the Rotary Club. He resides in Geneva and is the owner and manager of Pedulla's Discount Wine & Liquor Store in Geneva.

Antonio Gomez

Geneva City School Board candidate, Antonio Gomez is produce supervisor at Peterson Farms in Seneca Castle, and pastor for the Church of God in Farmington.  He resides in Geneva and ran for Geneva City Council, Ward 1 in the 2019 race. Antonio formerly served on the Geneva Human Rights Commission.

Michelle (Shelley) Higgins-Corbett

For the past 25 years Shelley has worked in law enforcement as an Evidence Management Specialist. As a volunteer, she has worked on the Geneva North Street School site council and on the School Improvement committee. She was a member of the first Alumni Core Team of the Parent Leadership Training Institute of Rochester, NY. She has several children attending Geneva schools, and coaches the North Street School Running Club. Shelley is a member of St. Peters Church in Geneva where she is an active volunteer.

Lisa Pietrocarlo

Lisa is a 30 year educator in the Phelps Clifton Springs School District, as a teacher and a coach. She is a union leader in her faculty Association as negotiator and grievance chair person.  Lisa resides in Geneva, is married and has a 15-year-old son that attends Geneva high school. She teaches yoga at Studio Renew in downtown Geneva. She is a member of Our Lady of Peace parish, where she is an active volunteer. She serves on the Geneva Recreation Department Advisory Board.

RJ Rapozza

RJ is currently serving as the Co-Director of the Manresa Program and Career Advising at Le Moyne College.  The Manresa program is dedicated to helping integrate learning, meaning, calling, and career to help students achieve meaningful success. Following an 8-year tenure with Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES, RJ began his career in Higher Education 15 years ago as an adjunct professor at Finger Lakes Community College. After working for a US Department of Education program serving first-generation, low-income college students for several years, he transitioned into the Career Development field with a position at Hobart & William Smith Colleges. RJ is currently the president of the Central New York Career Development Association. Since returning to Geneva in 1997, RJ has held leadership roles in local, regional, and state non-profits including Geneva 2020, Geneva Theatre Guild Youth Theatre, Smith Center for The Arts, and Partnership for Arts Education.  He has presented nationally on topics including Student Success and Vocational Discernment.