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Election 2011: Several incumbents ousted from school boards

October 31, 2011
photo - D-49 School Board candidate Joan Johnson was leading for the two-year seat. Photo by MARK REIS, THE GAZETTE
D-49 School Board candidate Joan Johnson was leading for the two-year seat. Photo by MARK REIS, THE GAZETTE 

It appears that some voters were not pleased with their school boards, with five incumbents ousted in four local school districts Tuesday night in unofficial returns.

Voters wanted new faces in Falcon School District 49 and Ellicott School District 22. Miami-Yoder voters split, with El Paso County voters deciding to keep one incumbent and voting another down. (The district also encompasses a portion of Lincoln and Elbert counties.)

The results didn’t come as a surprise, given that residents in D-49 and D-22 have voiced discontent for some time.

Incumbents in Lewis-Palmer School District 38 were relieved by results that kept them in office after a concerted effort there to oust the three incumbents.

And it was status quo in Colorado Springs School District 11 and Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8.

In several other districts, no incumbents were running. Eight school districts across the region had contested races, most for four-year terms.

For details on how area education funding measures fared, click here.


The Falcon School District 49 board will have three new members.

Chuck Irons and Marie LaVere-Wright won four-year seats. Joan Johnson will fill the two-year seat that was held by board member Rusty Moomey, appointed to the board about a year ago.

Incumbent Andy Holloman, who has been serving as board treasurer, was not re-elected.

“I’m grateful to have been a part of it for two years,” Holloman said, adding that the outgoing board is leaving the district in better shape than it was, thanks to hard budget decisions and other initiatives.

“Many in our district were looking for someone who was not connected to the board,” LaVere-Wright said, adding that her education background and willingness to listen also helped her win votes.

Irons, who had the most votes, was not available Tuesday night.

Colorado Springs District 11 voters re-elected Bob Null and Jan Tanner. Elaine Naleski and Nora Brown will join the school board serving the largest school district in the region.

“I think it’s going to be a good board,” Naleski said, adding that there will be challenges, including hard budget decisions and efforts to boost student achievement.

In Lewis-Palmer School District 38, each of the three incumbents defeated a single opponent for the seats representing their area.

The campaign became heated when two politicians from outside the district, Peggy Littleton, El Paso County commissioner, and Angela Dougan, Colorado Springs City Council member, sent recorded calls supporting non-incumbents.

“I appreciate the vote of confidence and am thankful to those who helped with the campaign and over the four years gave me advice as board member,” said board President John Mann, re-elected to the board. “We are all one community and should work together, that’s my philosophy to take care of our kids.”

Some boards were settled long before votes were tallied. In nine school districts, the number of candidates either matched the number of seats up for election, or fell short, as in Cheyenne Mountain School District 12. Most did not have to pay the costs of participating in an election.

Here’s an overview of the unofficial results from the El Paso County Clerk & Recorder’s Office:

• Academy School District 20

Glenn Strebe was the top vote-getter among four candidates, with about 42 percent of the vote.

The contest for the second seat was tight, with Tracey Johnson ahead of Kim Wright by about three dozen votes in incomplete results.

• Colorado Springs District 11

Elaine Naleski and Nora Brown will join incumbents Jan Tanner and Bob Null on the board for four-year terms.

• Ellicott School District 22

An effort to recall Gary Lake and Stefanie Dickinson appeared to be successful Tuesday night, although Lake was recalled by a small margin.

Dickinson resigned after an alleged sex scandal involving students. Cody Chambers will be replacing her on the school board.

Dwight Hobbs will replace Lake on the board.

Ernest Hudson and MaryAnna Clemons will join the board in four-year seats, ousting incumbent Todd Schainost.

For more on the story, click here.

• Falcon School District 49

Chuck Irons and Marie LaVere-Wright will serve four-year terms.

Joan Johnson won the two-year seat.

• Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8

Voters chose from four candidates for three four-year terms.

Incumbents Jill Grubbs and Tom Downing easily won re-election. Newcomer Dale Terrell will join the board after receiving about 42 percent of the vote.

• Lewis-Palmer School District 38

Incumbents John Mann, Mark Pfoff and Robb Pike all easily won re-election, each garnering more than 45 percent of the vote for their sections.

“I think main things we need to focus on is marketing the district’s academics,” said Mark Pfoff. “The important thing is local school boards are voted by the community, not influenced by outsiders.”

• Miami-Yoder School District JT60

Kim Clements and Jack Pfost were the top vote-getters for two four-year seats according to El Paso County tallies and early results from Lincoln County.

Incumbent Craig Carneal came in last in the four-person race.

Incumbent Bill Hartley won the two-year seat.

• Peyton School District 23-JT

Tracy Lee and James Frohbieter won seats. Lee had almost 46 percent of the vote, but the fight for the second seat was relatively close with roughly 50 votes deciding the victor.

Only three candidates — no incumbents — ran for two open four-year seats.

These districts did not hold school board elections:

Calhan School District RJ-1
Cheyenne Mountain School District 12
Cripple Creek-Victor School District RE-1
Edison School District 54JT
Hanover School District 2
Harrison School District 2
Manitou Springs School District 14
Widefield School District 3
Woodland Park School District RE-2

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