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Incumbents falter in early May elections, governing majority shifts in Buffalo

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May 7, 2014

By Daniel Anderson

School board elections held across four states resulted in nearly a third of the incumbents losing their seats on May 6, 2014. Four of the 11 incumbents running in the five North Carolina elections were defeated, along with one of the two incumbents running in New York's only district to hold an election, Buffalo Public Schools. Current board members achieved greater success in Virginia, where just two of the nine incumbents who ran lost. The sole incumbent running for re-election in Montana's Billings Public Schools, Janna Hafer, managed to retain her seat.

The percentage of incumbents who lost their re-election bids yesterday was higher than the general trend thus far in 2014. Incumbents achieved only a 73.91 percent re-election rate on Tuesday, compared to the 84.88 percent of incumbents in other top enrollment school districts who have won re-election earlier this year.

Spotlight: Buffalo Public Schools

Buffalo Public Schools seal.jpg

Voters in Buffalo demanded change at the ballot box on Tuesday, ushering in two new board members alongside the returning board president, Barbara Seals Nevergold. Larry Quinn and Patricia B. Pierce defeated 10 other challengers in an unusually crowded candidate field to win the at-large seats with five-year terms. Both were endorsed by former gubernatorial candidate and Park Subdistrict board member, Carl P. Paladino, who has led an opposition faction against Nevergold since his election on May 7, 2013. Paladino's faction staged an unsuccessful vote to remove Superintendent Pamela Brown from office in September 2013, which failed in a narrow 5-4 ruling.

Paladino and Nevergold both lost allies on the board yesterday with John Licata's defeat and Florence Johnson's retirement, respectively. However, since two of the three seats were won by Paladino's preferred candidates, his faction now controls the school board.[1] Local journalists expect that this new governing majority will move swiftly to terminate Superintendent Brown's employment. Larry Quinn, who finished first in the at-large election, raised more money than any other candidate and earned an endorsement from StudentsFirst, which is a national education reform advocacy organization that supports implementing teacher merit pay, eliminating tenure for teachers and promoting school choice.[2][3] Following the election, Quinn suggested that the school district needs a "revolution" and added that, "[...] this is also a time to radically change how we educate kids."[4]

The change in the governing majority presents an unclear portrait of how Buffalo Public Schools will handle the implementation of Common Core going forward. Although Larry Quinn and Patricia B. Pierce campaigned on removing Superintendent Brown from office, they actually shared her support for Common Core. In contrast, rival faction leader and Board President Barbara Seals Nevergold opposed the new standards. All three of the winning candidates did agree that the district had done a poor job of implementing Common Core thus far.[1]


Note: An (i) next to a candidate's name indicates incumbent status.


Billings Public Schools
Single Member District 1

CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Tanya Ludwig

Single Member District #2

CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Janna Hafer (i)
UncheckedBox.jpg Virgil Middendorf

High School District B

CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Susan Layton
UncheckedBox.jpg Eric H. Olsen

New York

Buffalo Public Schools

UncheckedBox.jpg Stephen Buccilli
UncheckedBox.jpg Samuel P. Davis
UncheckedBox.jpg Adrian Harris
UncheckedBox.jpg Ralph R. Hernandez
UncheckedBox.jpg John Licata (i)
UncheckedBox.jpg Wendy Mistretta
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Barbara Seals Nevergold (i)
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Patricia B. Pierce
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Larry Quinn
UncheckedBox.jpg Sergio Rodriguez
UncheckedBox.jpg Gizelle Stokes
UncheckedBox.jpg Bernie Tolbert
UncheckedBox.jpg Stephon Wright

North Carolina

Durham Public Schools
District 1

UncheckedBox.jpg Omega Parker (i)
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Michael Lee
UncheckedBox.jpg Thomas Poole

District 2

CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Sendolo Diaminah
UncheckedBox.jpg Jimmy Doster
UncheckedBox.jpg Donald A. Hughes
UncheckedBox.jpg DeWarren K. Langley
UncheckedBox.jpg Terrence R. Scarborough

District 3
UncheckedBox.jpg Steven Gatlin
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Matthew Sears
UncheckedBox.jpg Lisa Gordon Stella
UncheckedBox.jpg Deborah Bryson

District 4
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Natalie Beyer (i)

Iredell-Statesville Schools
District 1
UncheckedBox.jpg Robert Clontz
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Max James, Jr.
UncheckedBox.jpg David Johnson

District 3
UncheckedBox.jpg John Donnelly
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Cynthia Haynes
UncheckedBox.jpg Roger Craig Morrow
UncheckedBox.jpg John Rogers, Jr. (i)
UncheckedBox.jpg Kevin Ross

District 5
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Martin Page
UncheckedBox.jpg Victoria Sawyer

District 7
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Anna Bonham (i)
UncheckedBox.jpg Kenneth Frady, Jr.
UncheckedBox.jpg Dennis Moody
UncheckedBox.jpg Patricia Stevens

Onslow County Schools
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Brock Ridge (i)
UncheckedBox.jpg Mary Anne Kellum-Sharpe (i)
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Joel Churchwell
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Bob Williams

Robeson County Schools
District 2
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Brenda S. Fairley-Ferebee (i)
UncheckedBox.jpg Effie N. McEachin

District 3
UncheckedBox.jpg Severeo Kerns (i)
UncheckedBox.jpg Brenda L. Locklear
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Peggy Wilkins Chavis

District 6
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Mike Smith (i)

District 8
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Dwayne Smith

Wilkes County Schools
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Randall Holbrook (i)
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Sharron N. Huffman (i)
UncheckedBox.jpg Larry Pendry
UncheckedBox.jpg Matt Ledford


Chesapeake Public Schools
UncheckedBox.jpg Michael David Brown
UncheckedBox.jpg Wilford A. Clark, Jr.
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Christie Craig (i)
UncheckedBox.jpg Kimberly S. Hobbs
UncheckedBox.jpg Brenda J. Johnson
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Colleen C. Leary
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Harry A. Murphy (i)
UncheckedBox.jpg Les Smith, Jr.
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Louis J. Tayon, Jr.
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Michael J. Woods (i)

Hampton City Schools
Hampton Roads Seat A
UncheckedBox.jpg Jennifer P. Phillips (i)
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Jason S. Samuels

Hampton Roads Seat B
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Linwood D. Harper (i)

Chesapeake Bay Seat A
UncheckedBox.jpg David J. Dietrich
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Joseph C. Kilgore (i)

Newport News Public Schools
UncheckedBox.jpg Curtis D. Bethany III
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Gary B. Hunter
UncheckedBox.jpg Rick E. Jones, Jr.

UncheckedBox.jpg Betty Bracey Dixon
CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Jeff Stodghill (i)

CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Douglas C. Brown
UncheckedBox.jpg Pricillia E. Burnett (i)

CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Carlton S. Ashby (i)

See also