With significant leads in the election results, Meredith McIlmoyle and Diana Farnsworth stand ready to take over the Position 1 and 2 Anacortes School Board seats with plans of doing what is best for the children of Anacortes.
Both will be new to the board, taking over seats that are being vacated by Bobbilynn Hogge and Erin Rieger, who did not run again.
As of Tuesday, McIlmoyle was leading Celese Stevens for Position 1, with a total of 5,864 votes (60%) to 3,835 votes (39%).
In Position 2, Farnsworth was leading Erik Schorr with a total of 5,631 votes (58%) to 4,092 votes (42%).
While the race is not technically over, only 380 ballots remain countywide, with an unknown portion of those affecting Anacortes races.
Election winners will be certified Nov. 23 and will take over in January.
McIlmoyle, who is executive director of the Anacortes Arts Festival, said this election process made it clear that there’s a lot of healing to do as a community.
She said she looks forward to listening and hearing from parents who are concerned their voices will not be heard.
She also wants to stand up for what’s best for the children of Anacortes.
“I’m proud of our community for standing up and acknowledging that the students’ social and emotional wellbeing is important, especially during these challenging times,” McIlmoyle said.
She said she knows she has a lot to learn and intends to take a deep dive into issues facing the district.
Stevens shared some thoughts about the election via email.
“The election process brought out the best in some, and the worst in others, but I remain hopeful for our kids and this Anacortes community as we continue forward,” Stevens wrote.
Stevens said that during the past seven months or so, she built new friendships and learned new things as she met people who asked hard questions and spoke with her about their concerns.
She wants to see better communication throughout the district and hopes students experience a rigorous education that prepares them for their future and that it leads to “a lifelong love of learning.”
Farnsworth said she is grateful to this community, especially the students, teachers and citizens who supported her.
“I was so glad to meet so many new students throughout this process,” she said.
She wants to keep hearing students’ concerns and find out what they want to see in schools.
When the candidates participated in a forum with student leaders, they presented a survey completed by students with their opinions on the schools.
Farnsworth said she looks forward to studying those topics. The work is already starting, she said.
In a couple weeks, the winners will attend a boot camp for new board members put on by the state.
Schorr said it was fascinating to take part in this campaign.
“I am humbled by the support that so many people showed, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn so much about the functions of a school board and the many needs of our district,” he wrote in an email.
He was disheartened, though, because he said members of the community accused him of things that weren’t true. He encouraged people to reach out to candidates directly to hear their thoughts on issues, instead of spreading false information.
“I sincerely hope that Anacortes families continue to civilly engage with the board and our administrators. We have a good superintendent who is willing to listen and understands that there are many concerns that need to be addressed. I trust him to find a balanced approach to the needs of the community,” Schorr wrote.