Bill Evans defeated Robert White to win Tuesday's election between two veteran educators vying to represent Lady's Island District 7 on the Beaufort County Board of Education, according to unofficial results.
Evans received 56 percent of the vote in the district that includes Lady's Island, Dataw Island and Pigeon Point. White had 44 percent.
Incumbent Michael Rivers defeated newcomer Faye Alston to win the seat representing St. Helena Island District 5.
Rivers received 61 percent of the vote and Alston had about 38 percent.
In a southern Beaufort County race, the winner of the Hilton Head Island District 2 seat -- a rare contest in which no candidate appeared on the ballot -- won't be known until later today, according to the county's elections chief.
Scott Marshall, executive director of the Beaufort County Board of Voter Registration and Elections, said late Tuesday that write-in ballots will need to be counted by hand.
Rita Hart and Julie Bell both mounted write-in campaigns to replace Bob Arundell, who did not seek re-election.
Four other school board races were uncontested.
Evans said he's happy about his win and thankful for the support he received during the campaign.
He said he's also thankful for the opportunity the campaign gave him and White to publicly discuss education issues. Evans said he hopes to continue discussing with White ideas to improve schools once he begins his term on the board.
"I knew the person winning would welcome support and ideas from the person who didn't win," he said.
Evans, 63, spent about 40 years in public education, 24 of them in Beaufort County. He was principal of Hilton Head Island High School from 1986 to 1998 and served as an interim principal at both Beaufort and Battery Creek high schools.
He also held several positions in the district's central office, most recently working as an ombudsman, until he retired this year.
Evans said top priorities include ensuring fair and consistent education funding, ensuring rigorous instruction designed to meet individual student needs and developing effective student discipline programs.
Incumbent Jim Bequette did not seek re-election this year and endorsed White.
White, 66, retired to Beaufort County eight years ago after spending more than 35 years at schools in northern Virginia. He opened and led for 17 years a 2,100-student high school and retired as an assistant superintendent for human resources.
"I wish (Evans) the best," White said. "He ran a good race, and lots of people know him. I knew it would be difficult to overcome that."
Rivers, who has served 12 years on the board, grew up on St. Helena Island. The U.S. Air Force veteran returned in 1986 after working with Scientific Atlanta as an engineering technician. He was first elected to the school board in 1998.
Alston, a mother of four with two children still in county schools, has lived on St. Helena for 10 years and is chief operating officer of Coastal Vision Cares. She has been an officer on school improvement councils and parent-teacher organizations at both Lady's Island and St. Helena elementary schools.
Neither Rivers nor Alston could be reached for comment late Tuesday.