A former teacher and a real estate agent have won the two remaining seats on the Beaufort County Board of Education.
Mike Sanz, who recently retired as a teacher at H.E. McCracken Middle School, won the District 10 seat as a write-in candidate. The district includes the middle part of Hilton Head Island.
Evva Anderson, a real estate agent who has been chairwoman of School Improvement Councils at Pritchardville Elementary and Bluffton Middle schools, won the District 7 seat as a write-in candidate. The district includes the Rose Hill, Island West and Hampton Lake neighborhoods in greater Bluffton.
Sanz and Anderson will join an 11-member school board with a host of other new members elected Tuesday -- seven are newcomers.
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Sanz said his first priority, aside from the board selecting a new chair, was to put his platform in place. Sanz campaigned to bring back discipline and respect to classrooms, which he says will allow teachers to focus on teaching.
"I want to get support from other board members to make some changes so we can again have a situation where all kids are safe in school, and teachers can teach and have a lot of productivity in the classroom," he said Thursday.
Sanz garnered 346 votes, putting him in the lead by 101 votes.
Former school board member and retired teacher Flo Rosse had 245 votes while retired IBM manager Joe Kopf won 45.
In all, 847 write-in ballots were cast in the District 10 race. Any name that got fewer than 25 votes does not have to be disclosed, which accounts for the difference of 211 votes, county elections executive director Scott Marshall said Thursday.
Sanz said his grassroots campaign approach made the difference -- he did not mail fliers, he said, but instead walked street to street knocking on door after door.
"I found that to be a really worthwhile experience," he said. "I met so many people and discovered parts of the island I wasn't familiar with."
He also thinks the friends who helped him at the polls Tuesday made a difference. Because there were no candidates on the ballot for the seat, write-in candidates often had to tell voters how to spell their name.
Both Rosse and Kopf said they were disappointed to lose the seat, but wished Sanz well.
Anderson said she was eager to learn the ins and outs of being a school board member. Her top priority is to improve graduation rates, she said.
"I'm excited," she said of her District 7 win. "I want to see our schools really move in a very positive direction."
She had 71 votes, more than any other name written in for the seat.
In all, 323 write-in ballots were cast in the race. Marshall said many of the votes were for "silly" names such as Big Bird or Mickey Mouse.
The tally wasn't released until about 7 p.m. Thursday -- nearly 48 hours after the polls closed.
Marshall said nothing went wrong to cause the delay. The process of tallying every vote by hand is simply time consuming, he said. His office also had to sort through absentee ballots, ballots that were mailed in and complete other tasks ahead of certifying vote totals thismorning.
Newly elected board members will attend an orientation Nov. 16 and be sworn in at the board's first meeting in January. A date for that meeting has not been set.
- Write-in votes for Beaufort County school board still being counted; Nov. 7, 2012
- Washington defeated; newcomers to join school board; Nov. 6, 2012
- In write-in races for Beaufort County school board, winner may not be known on election night; Oct. 26, 2012
- Beaufort County Board of Education write-in candidate questionnaires; Oct. 25, 2012
- Hilton Head school board candidates talk new superintendent, budget issues; Oct. 17, 2012
- Bluffton school board candidates discuss next superintendent, budget priorities; Oct. 23, 2012
- Beaufort County Board of Education hopefuls will campaign as write-in candidates in November; Aug. 15, 2012