Patricia Dorsey, Tara Battaglia and Kenneth Kiler won the three seats on the Carroll County Board of Education, ousting incumbent and current school board President Bob Lord.
Dorsey, a retired elementary school principal, came out on top with 33,761 total votes, followed by Battaglia, a parent and community activist, with 24,833 votes and then Kiler, an executive at a construction company and founder of the Manchester Wrestling program with 24,237 votes.
Lord, the only incumbent, finished last with 19,979 votes.
The other two candidates were Mary Kowalski, a former CCPS employee and current citizen activist, in fourth with 22,118 votes, and current Republican County Commissioner Doug Howard, who came in fifth with 20,473 votes.
Dorsey said she’s “totally grateful” and “still humbled by the support that has been shown.”
“I look forward to getting the job done,” she said, later adding “I’m just ready to go ahead and move forward.”
Battaglia said she remained hopeful throughout the election cycle that she would come out winning a seat on the school board.
“We are ecstatic and we’re just extremely grateful that the rest of Carroll County has put a lot of trust in me,” she said. “And I promise not to let them down.”
Kiler said he was with many volunteers Tuesday night waiting for the results and told them that they’d done so much, and while that doesn’t always equate to a win, it did on Tuesday.
“This is great and it’s nice to see the results,” Kiler said, later adding, “This is very rewarding.”
Lord said despite losing, he wishes the three winners the best.
“I am sad that I have lost but the voters of Carroll County have spoken,” Lord said.
Candidates ran on a number of issues, from school safety to funding issues to the Redistricting and School Closure Committee report, which came out this fall.
And while candidates agreed on some issues, many had different approaches, and different focuses.
For Battaglia, the top issue facing the school system is proper funding.
Dorsey could not pick just one top issue — for her, a number of items were priorities, from ensuring that students are learning, school safety, addressing RSCC recommendations, renovating the Career and Technology Center, teacher salaries, retention and identifying performance targets.
For Kiler, the biggest issue is student achievement in all areas.
While many who came out to vote Tuesday were focused on statewide races — like the governor’s race — some were paying attention on the local level.
Westminster resident Dwayne Keilman said he was interested in the school board race this year.
“My kids are in school and I want to make sure they get what’s best for them,” Keilman said.
His daughter is 9 and his son is 8, he said. But although he wanted to make sure to vote for the Board of Education race, Keilman said the governor’s race was most important to him.
Sonja Bloetner, 47, of Mount Airy, said she is a teacher in a nearby county. She came out to push for balance on the Board of Education, she said. That means people with an education background, of which she said their were two qualified candidates, and some with construction backgrounds in consideration of Capital Improvement Projects.
Bloetner also considered the national political climate as she cast her ballot Tuesday.
The Mount Airy resident teaches English Second Language students in a nearby county public school system.
She said it was of paramount importance to her that candidates had balanced perspectives on immigration.
“We are a diverse nation,” she said. And, “there’s power in diversity.”
Hope Crawford, of Westminster, sat outside the polls at William Winchester Elementary School after voting on Tuesday. Crawford, 19, is registered as Independent and works at West Middle School. She said the Board of Education race was most important to her, and she voted for Dorsey.
“I just agree with a lot of what she's doing, holding true to educational standards,” she said.
Stephanie Brooks, of Westminster, voted for Gov. Larry Hogan, and also Lord for the Board of Education in Carroll. She said she has served on committees with him before and considers him “a fantastic person with the right priorities.”
For Tom Bosley, of Manchester, Kiler was his school board choice.
Bosley said he was happy to vote for Kiler for the Board of Education because he grew up wrestling and knew him as a coach. He hoped to see Kiler’s influence on the board for his children now in school, Bosley added.