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Melissa Karam Panchley

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Melissa Karam Panchley
Melissa Karam Panchley.jpg
Board Member, Fall River School Committee, At-large
Term ends
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
First electedNovember 5, 2013
Next generalNovember, 2015
Term limitsN/A
High schoolB.M.C. Durfee High School
Bachelor'sBoston College School of Education
Master'sUniversity of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
ProfessionSenior property manager
Campaign website
Melissa Karam Panchley campaign logo
Melissa Karam Panchley is an at-large member of the Fall River School Committee. She won the general election on November 5, 2013.


Melissa Karam Panchley resides in Fall River, Massachusetts. Panchley graduated from B.M.C. Durfee High School before earning her B.A. degree in Human Development and Sociology from the Boston College School of Education and her M.B.A. with a concentration in Accounting from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. She began her career with the Fall River Housing Authority, working first as a youth outreach worker and then as a coordinator of elderly services and grant writer. In 2001, she took a position as the chief financial officer of the Karam Financial Group, and since 2011 she has served as its senior property manager.[1]



See also: Fall River Public Schools elections (2013)


Melissa Karam Panchley and the five incumbents defeated her fellow challengers Russell Desbiens, Lori DeSousa and Dan Robillard to win six at-large seats in the general election on November 5, 2013.


Fall River Public Schools, At-large General Election, 2-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJoseph Martins Incumbent 15.6% 6,484
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngMelissa Karam Panchley 15% 6,263
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngMark Costa Incumbent 14.4% 5,996
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngPaul Hart Incumbent 12.6% 5,240
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngGabriel Andrade Incumbent 12.2% 5,063
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngRobert Maynard Incumbent 10.9% 4,543
     Nonpartisan Lori DeSousa 8% 3,352
     Nonpartisan Dan Robillard 7% 2,926
     Nonpartisan Russell Desbiens 4.3% 1,797
Total Votes 41,664
Source: Jo C. Goode, The Herald News, "No changes in order following release of official Fall River election results," November 13, 2013


Melissa Karam Panchley reported $34,621.00 in contributions and $17,673.64 in expenditures to the Fall River City Clerk, which left her campaign with $16,837.36 on hand.[2] Panchley raised and spent significantly more than other candidates in the race. She reported many contributions between $100 and $500 from local business owners and executives in a variety of industries, along with donations of $100 each from former United States Senator Scott Brown and the "Scott Brown Re-Election Committee."[3]


Melissa Karam Panchley received an endorsement for her campaign from The Herald News.[4]

Campaign themes

In an interview with The Herald News, Martins listed the following campaign themes:[1]

  • Decrease elementary school class size.
  • Create a culture in our schools where parents feel safe and welcome, and truly feel that they are a partner in education.
  • Provide challenging and innovative choices for parents and for students. One size does not fit all, and a key to our children’s success is to provide them with the opportunities that fit them best. The Fall River Public Schools are perhaps the best outlet to provide these choices and opportunities for families.
  • Expand preschool opportunities, so more of our children get the building blocks that will help them succeed.

What was at stake?

There were six seats on the school board up for election on November 5, 2013. Five of the six incumbents ran successfully for re-election, including Joseph Martins, Mark Costa, Paul Hart, Gabriel Andrade and Robert Maynard. Fellow incumbent Richard Pavao did not file for re-election. They were challenged by four candidates, including Melissa Karam Panchley, Russell Desbiens, Lori DeSousa and Dan Robillard.

About the district

See also: Fall River Public Schools, Massachusetts
Fall River Public Schools is located in Bristol County, Massachusetts
Fall River Public Schools is located in Bristol County, Massachusetts. The county seat of Bristol County is Taunton. According to the 2010 US Census, Bristol County is home to 551,082 residents.[5]


Bristol County underperformed in comparison to the rest of Massachusetts in terms of its median rates of average household income, poverty rate and higher education achievement in 2011. The median household income in Bristol County was $55,813 compared to $65,981 for the state of Massachusetts. The poverty rate in Bristol County was 11.3% compared to 10.7% for the entire state. The US Census also found that 25.1% of Bristol County residents aged 25 years and older attained a Bachelor's degree compared to 38.7% in Massachusetts.[5]

Racial Demographics, 2012[5]
Race Bristol County (%) Massachusetts (%)
White 91.1 83.7
Black or African American 4.3 7.9
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.6 0.5
Asian 2.1 5.8
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 1.8 2.0
Hispanic or Latino 6.4 10.1

Party Affiliation, 2012[6]
Party Registered Voters  % of Total
Democratic 123,044 36.43
Republican 34,914 10.34
Green-Rainbow 320 0.09
Unaffiliated 177,632 52.60
Other 1,800 0.53

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one or two tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[7] This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.

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