A Johnston School Committee member has quietly resigned, and a replacement has been sworn in.
On Dec. 22, 2021, David Santilli wrote a brief resignation letter and submitted it to Johnston Mayor Joseph M. Polisena.
“I will be resigning my position as School Committee Member for District 3 effective December 31, 2021,” Santilli wrote in his letter. “I thank you for the opportunity to serve our Town and my Constituents of District 3.”
Santilli did not respond to multiple calls for comment.
At Monday night’s meeting, Marysue Andreozzi was sworn in by Polisena after Town Council members voted in a quick, unanimous, secret ballot election.
Santilli voiced frustration with the new school building process after the Nov. 9 School Committee meeting. He went on vacation prior to the holidays and did not attend December’s meeting. Then, days before Christmas, he submitted his letter of resignation.
“David has been involved in politics for a long time,” Polisena said on Tuesday. “He’s done a very credible job. He was on the School Committee years ago. And then he was on (Town) Council and again on the School Committee. I assume he probably wants to spend more time with his family.”
Santilli, a local businessman, owns and operates The Jewelry Center at 1463 Atwood Ave. He vacated his District 3 seat on the Johnston Town Council in 2018 when he announced he wouldn’t seek re-election. That seat is now held by Joseph Polisena Jr.
“I think he did a great job, and we’re going to miss him, but family comes first and family obligations come first,” Polisena said. “He’s done his time. He’s got a business too … a local business in town. When you own a business, it’s not very easy to do your business and trying to do politics.”
Former School Committee chairwoman Janice D. Mele passed away in April 2019, and created what Polisena called at the time a “tremendous void” on the board. Johnston Democrats suggested Santilli to finish the two years remaining on Mele’s term.
Santilli was then elected to the seat for a full term in 2020. At the time of his resignation, he was less than halfway through the four-year term, which will expire in 2024.
Santilli served three two-year terms on the Johnston Town Council, and also served two previous four-year terms — one as vice chairman — on the School Committee.
“David did a very admirable job when he was on the school committee,” Polisena said Tuesday. “He did a very good job when he was on the council. So he’s going to be missed. Public service to the town doesn’t go unnoticed. We appreciate that.”
Andreozzi serves on the Marian J. Mohr Memorial Library Board of Trustees.
“I’ve known her for a long time,” Polisena said. “She’s very, very active in local politics. She’s really a good person; very sincere. She’s not pretentious at all and she wants to do what’s right for the children.”
Polisena described Andreozzi as a proud Johnston “mother and grandmother.”
“She had children that went through the school system … her grandkids are going through the school system,” Polisena said. “So I think she’s the right choice for the right time.”
Andreozzi will serve in the District 3 seat through next fall’s election.
“Now keep in mind she has to run in November, because council just filled the seat until the next election,” Polisena explained. “In order for her to keep that seat she has to run in November, and if she runs and she wins, she’ll only be in for two years. She’ll have to run again in two years. She’s finishing up Santilli’s term … That’s why the Council, according to the Charter, is able to appoint someone to the seat so it doesn’t stay vacant. So that district gets representation … by not having a vacant seat.”
Andreozzi was welcomed to the School Committee at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, via Zoom. She could not be reached for comment prior to this week’s deadline.
In 2019, Santilli was optimistic while looking ahead to his future on the Johnston School Committee.
“I know I can help the Johnston School District,” Santilli said in 2019. “I’ve been there and done that before and I’m very much looking forward to working with the committee and continuing to move our schools forward.”
School Committee Chairman Robert Lafazia did not return a call or an email seeking comment for this story.
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