Sabo, Clampitt, and Pappenhagen still in May 9 election.

Three candidates are vying for the District C seat on the Red Clay Consolidated School District school board.

The seat is currently vacant, following the retirement of Kenneth Rivera.

The five-year term expires June 22, 2022.

The election is Tuesday, May 9. Polls open at 8 a.m.

For a complete list of polling places, visit

Below find the Q&A responses to the three remaining candidates, in alphabetical order.


Name: Henry Clampitt

Age: 59

Education: B.S., Chemical Engineering

Occupation: Corporate Development Consultant, M&A Transaction Services

Hometown/years lived in district: 30-plus

Leadership or previous experience: Gateway Lab School, Board Treasurer (current); Enrollment Preferences Task Force, DE General Assembly (2015); The Charter School of Wilmington, Board Secretary (five years); The Charter School of Wilmington, Parent Association Co-President (2 years)

What do you feel are the three biggest issues facing the district, and how will you address them if elected?

1. Early Literacy:  Half of Red Clay’s third grade students are not at grade-level in reading and math.  The district has reported no progress on this over the past five years.  And the board has not spent much time reacting to it.  If elected, I will bring a vibrant voice to the board to address this issue and to learn from and use the successful examples in Delaware which we already know about.

2. School Choice:  Red Clay has all-choice magnet and charter schools which are full to capacity and with long waiting lists.   We need to provide better programming and results at our attendance-zone schools so that Red Clay residents will truly decide … with their choices … that ALL Red Clay schools are a great destination for their students.  If elected, I will push the board to support programs such as TAG (talented and gifted) at all schools, and to better market the myriad successes of our schools ( I believe that Red Clay schools are better than the general public awareness).  We can do much to help our district’s reputation through stepping up our partnerships with the local business community and social services agencies – the board needs to be a leading voice for this.

3. Risk to Voter Control Over Taxes:  There are proposals coming from WEIC and from the Governor which could result in the citizens’ loss of referendum rights to control their school taxes.  I will be a strong voice to resist this.  It is not that I am against school taxes, it is that I am against cutting out the public’s REAL voice in it.   A strong referendum system will require the board to always ensure that its district delivers value and that the board must convince the public of that value.  It is hard work, but the board needs to be held truly accountable for procuring financial resources by ensuring a high-performing district and then convincing the public to fund it.


Name:  Thomas L Pappenhagen, PhD

Age:  59

Education:  Kenyon College,  AB;     Purdue University,  PhD;     University of Delaware,  MBA

Occupation:  Teacher at Middletown HS; Adjunct chemistry professor at DelTech

Hometown/years lived in district:  25 years in Delaware, children attended Red Clay K – 12 graduating from Wilmington Charter

Leadership or previous experience:  My twenty year career as a research & development chemist at DuPont ending with stints as a manager and Six Sigma Black Belt provide a broad background in management of people and projects.  For the past twelve years I have been a teacher at Middletown High School teaching math and AP statistics.  I have served as a member of the Red Clay Community Financial Review Committee for the past 3+ years.  My campaign is self-funded and as I am not endorsed by any political party or lobbying organization I can operate with the students’ best interests as my guiding principle. 

What do you feel are the three biggest issues facing the district, and how will you address them if elected?

I am deeply concerned that the uncertain shifts in educational policy at the national level and the concurrent state budget crisis may negatively impact our schools and families. 

1. I am concerned with how state budget cuts may negatively impact Red Clay.  I agree that all areas need to share the pain of the budget reductions and the districts seem to be accepting of the initial $15M cut.  However, passing on an additional $22M in cuts (along with increased transportation cost-sharing by the districts) while possibly allowing districts to recapture most of this reduction by increasing school taxes without a referendum seems irresponsible.  Increasing property taxes without a referendum damages the relationships the districts have with their parents and jeopardizes the success of future referendums. 

2. I do not support vouchers or the transfer of public school monies to non-public schools.

3. I do not support the redistricting of Christina schools into Red Clay as proposed by WEIC, although I do support increasing resources for high poverty, ELL and k-3 special education students.  While a weighted funding formula would provide additional resources to those in need, we also need to ensure all students regardless of socioeconomic status receive a world-class education.


Name:  Ashley Sabo

Age: not relevant

Education: Bachelors of Science in Business, Concentration in Marketing; Masters of Business Administration, Concentration in Human Resources; Masters of Business in Health Care Administration; FINRA Series 7; FINRA Series 63.

Occupation: Trust Associate

Hometown/years lived in district: Wilmington, DE -- lived here my entire life

Leadership or previous experience: I have been a PTA president for 3 years and I was the co-chair for the inclusion committee; continuing to be involved as the co-chair for the inclusion oversight committee. I have attended and participated in the Red Clay strategic planning meetings, as well as most all board meetings for the past 3 years.  I was a member of the Red Clay Parent Advisory Council and currently a member of the Red Clay Special Needs Parent Council.  In the past year Red Clay has put on various conferences for their staff, educators, and the public on topics such as trauma and poverty and protecting our children which I have attended.

What do you feel are the three biggest issues facing the district, and how will you address them if elected?

1. Transparency and Accountability Parents, students, and educators deserve honest and transparent communication.  Decisions that impact the community such as policy changes or fiscal issues need to be fully explained and communicated effectively to all stakeholders, as well as allowing the stakeholders to provide their feedback.  There needs to be multiple ways to provide feedback on issues and concerns - not just for the district to read but also to respond to.  It is the district's responsibility to ensure strong and thorough communication is the norm, not the exception. No matter how difficult a situation at hand, those effected deserve honesty.

2. Evaluating Educators - Teachers do not just walk into a classroom one day and start teaching; They are trained professionals. They have gone through years of schooling to be the best educators possible.  Teachers do so much in a day, a week, a year, that their evaluation should never come down to one test - let alone a test that does not even take into account all they have taught and all their students have learned. We owe it to our amazing educators to make sure they are being evaluated justly and fairly for the work they do and the dedication they show.

3. Choice – While I support the general concept of choice, I believe all students should have access to great programs and all schools; entrance requirements should not exclude entire groups. As the mother of two school age children who are both choiced into schools that are not their feeder school, I value and fully support parents' ability to make the best decision and choice for their child(ren). Outside of unique program offerings, every school should have the services and resources to serve all students.  All schools must be held to high standards of transparency and accountability while serving all students.