The Clark County Board of Education will have a new look in January after three newcomers, Ashley Ritchie, Michael McGowan and Dr. Beth Griffith were the top vote getters in Tuesday’s election.
Ritchie and McGowan both unseated incumbents to claim their seats on the board.
Ritchie defeated Deanna Wolfe in the District 5 race 1,361 votes to Wolfe’s 1,020 votes. Wolfe was seeking her first full term after being selected to fill the seat following the mid-term resignation of Diane McKinney in 2011.
In the District 3 race, McGowan gathered 1,053 votes to oust long-time board member and vice chair Debbie Fatkin, who collected 828 votes.
Two first-time candidates battled for the District 3 seat after B.J. Swope did not run for re-election. In a closely contested race, Griffith defeated Steve Graves by a count of 1,728 votes to Graves 1,582 votes.
Ritchie, McGowan and Graves were all backed by the Stand Up Clark County group, which for months has been at odds with the current school board over its handling of the district’s facilities plan that calls for closing several small elementary schools and merging the two middle schools.
The group also accused the board of not communicating enough with the community before making decisions and had vowed to make some changes on the board. Tuesday night it did just that.
Immediately after the results were finalized, McGowan said he was glad to see at least two of the three candidates claim seats on the board.
“First of all, I’m glad that Ashley and I both won and now we’re on to the school board to see what we can do,” McGowan said. “I’m just ready to work for the people, the parents and students of the school system here.”
A tearful and very happy Griffith said she was just ready to work for the students of the district.
“I’m really looking forward to representing the people of my district and especially the children who go to school there,” Griffith said.
After her defeat, Fatkin thanked the parents of students in the school system for allowing her to serve and said she was proud of what the district has accomplished during her tenure.
“The past eight years serving this community and your children has been humbling. I took every decision seriously knowing the impact it would have on the children of this district,” Fatkin said. “Thank you for allowing me to serve. I look forward to what God has planned for me with all this free time.”
The new board members take office in January.
Contact Bob Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.