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Contentious school board elections come to a close, results emphasize community schisms

Livingston County

With 100% of precincts reporting, winners have been declared in the Livingston County Board of Education elections.

The five Livingston County school board races – Brighton, Fowlerville, Hartland, Howell, and Pinckney– have been a point of contention and controversy throughout the county, as debates arose over curriculum, unions,  partisan politics,  and the roles of parents, educators, board members, and community shareholders.

Public schools are a reflection of the public, and the intense variation of elected candidates have highlighted the schisms that all too frequently influence society.  Of the fifteen electees, eight were endorsed by the Livingston County Republican Party, while seven have outlined non-partisan goals and philosophies. One additional seat has not yet been claimed.

Angela Krebs currently serves as the Brighton Area Schools Board of Education Secretary, and has been elected to serve another term. She will be joined by Republican-endorsed Andy Storm and Jennifer Marks. Despite a relatively quiet campaign, Jennifer Marks was the leading candidate in the Brighton race, garnering 18% of the vote.

Incumbents John Belcher and Danielle DeVries have been re-elected to the Fowlerville Community Schools Board of Education. DeVries and Belcher were both endorsed by the Livingston County Republican Party, and the latter also received an endorsement from the Michigan Education Association. 

Retired educator Diana Dombrowski will also be joining the board. In her earlier interview with GIGO News, Dombrowski noted that, as a teacher, she always sought to provide children with “encouragement and an opportunity to learn and succeed” and intends to apply this same philosophy to her time on the board.

Hartland’s Clean Slate, composed of Glenn Gogoleski, Greg Keller, Bob Merwin, and Michelle Blondeel, has been a source of heated debate and disagreement within Hartland Consolidated Schools. Despite the  seemingly  unified nature of the Clean Slate’s joint campaign, the election results are far from a clean sweep. Glenn Gogoleski, the Clean Slate’s unofficial leader, led the race with 15.4% of the vote, with only 40 votes separating him from incumbent Meghan Glabach. Glabach was unanimously appointed to the board in February 2022 and has been reelected for a six-year term. Michelle Blondeel defeated incumbent Vic Bugni and will serve a partial term ending in 2024.

It is unclear who will claim the remaining  seat, as Michelle Hemeyer (the incumbent secretary) and Greg Keller each received exactly 5,264 votes. 

Republican endorsees Jason Bedford and Meg Marhofer led the race for Howell Public Schools, defeating incumbents Brent Earl and Grace Trudell. The Bedford-Marhofer campaign has relied heavily on extreme Conservative political rhetoric, despite the fact that school boards are specifically designated as a nonpartisan institution.

Christy Conn, an incumbent candidate endorsed by the MEA, will be returning to the board for a second term. In her first term on the board, Conn has worked on a vast assortment of projects and committees, and holds the unique distinction of being the only candidate who has achieved an Award for Merit through the Michigan Association of School Boards.

Throughout election night, the four candidates vying for two seats on Pinckney’s Board of Education were separated by a very narrow margin. Republican endorsees Jessica Barefield and Stephanie Johnson each received around 21% of votes but were ultimately defeated by incumbent challengers Bill Wearne and Michelle Crampo. Following the incumbent trend, Gayle Hurn will remain on the Board, serving a partial term until 2026.

Additional data and statistics, including cumulative reports on candidates and proposals, can be found on the County Clerk’s website, under November 8, 2022 Unofficial Election Results. 

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