Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
By Shelley Grieshop
Experience key in school board races
  CELINA - All schools in Mercer County will have at least one returning board member for the next four-year term to help tackle tough issues such as Common Core.
The only incumbent voted out in Tuesday's general election was Linda Steinbrunner, who is completing her fourth term as board member for Coldwater Exempted Village Schools.
With changes on the horizon such as Common Core teaching standards and new state report cards, voters may have chosen to stick with experience, said Ryan Thompson, who was appointed to the Parkway Local Schools board in January to fill an unexpired term.
"I think voters are confident their leaders are doing something good ... and they appreciate what they're doing," he said Tuesday evening. "I'm excited to see the consistency."
Thompson will remain on the board with incumbent Tom Lyons and looks forward to working with newcomer Melissa Burtch. The vote tally was Lyons, 800; Burtch, 815; and Thompson, 652. Also-ran Steven Samples netted 446 votes.
Elaine Pierron, an incumbent for Marion Local Schools board of education, will begin her second term in the new year. She was appointed to the board 2 1/2 years ago to fill an unexpired term.
Pierron believes voters may have chosen experienced candidates because they're "comfortable" with those people.
"With any new position there's always a lot of things you don't realize," she said, adding she enjoyed the learning process and looks forward to another term. "There's a lot to be said to having that experience."
Pierron, who earned 427 votes, will be joined by newcomer Brenda Schwieterman, who collected 551 votes. Joseph Meyer, who unsuccessfully sought his first public office, garnered 235 votes.
Although Steinbrunner's run on the Coldwater school board comes to an end, incumbent Todd Bills will remain after receiving 781 votes. Netting slightly more votes, 791, is board newcomer Mike Hoying Jr. Gary Hoying, who earned 662 votes, also was elected as a new board member.
Other vote totals for the Coldwater board race were Meghan Schwieterman, 462; Steinbrunner, 462; and Michael Birt, 277.
Residents in the Celina school district cast the most votes for incumbents Cindy Piper, 1,351, and Matt Gilmore, 1,312, both of whom will keep the two open seats.
Challengers Mark Cubberley and Jesse Parete collected 1,119 and 736 votes, respectively.
St. Henry Local Schools will see the return of board member Russ Bensman, who took in 544 votes. Newcomer Andy Fullenkamp, who received 682 votes, will join Josh Schmackers, 583 votes, as new faces on the board in 2014.
Challenger Jennifer McCoy received 429 votes for her unsuccessful run for the St. Henry board. Current board member Ruth Nerderman took 585 votes in an uncontested race for an unexpired term ending Dec. 31, 2015.
Voters in the Fort Recovery Local Schools District filled two open board of education seats with a pair of incumbents in an uncontested race. Current board vice president Ginny Fortkamp, who is finishing her first term, and Aaron Guggenbiller, who was appointed in August 2012 to fill the unexpired term of Dan Kahlig, will continue to serve.
Fortkamp garnered 615 votes or 51.64 percent and Guggenbiller earned 576 votes.
All vote totals are unofficial until approved by the board of elections.
Additional online stories for this date
Print edition only stories for this date
• Voters pick three new school board members
• Some Mercer County election races tight
• Two New Bremen council incumbents defeated
• Elections go smoothly in Mercer, Auglaize counties
• Minster life squad needs members
• Rockford council works on 2014 budget
• County obtains $500K loan to fund fueling center
• Local Carter Lumber store closes
• State's top two teams in D-IV face off in state semifinals
• Coaches have adjusted to changes in volleyball
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