When the local school boards reorganize in January, there’ll be some new and familiar faces after Tuesday’s election.

Only one of two new faces joining the Warsaw School Board had competition. Michael Coon will represent District 1 after winning Tuesday with 926 votes. Wendy Fairchild received 486 and Keith E. Manuel took 271.

Coon will replace Matt Dick, who chose not to seek re-election.

This morning, he said, via email, “Two other very qualified and equally passionate individuals ran for the District 1 WCS school board position. I am excited to dig in quickly to serve the community and especially the students and school staff.”

The other new face on the Warsaw School Board will be Bradly Johnson, who was unopposed in District 7.





Incumbents who were unopposed at Warsaw include Board President Heather Reichenbach, District 2, and Jeremy Mullins, District 5.

Of the three seats up for election at Tippecanoe Valley, only District 3 was unopposed. Lacey Wise took it with 2,612 votes in Kosciusko and Fulton counties.

The race in District 4 was Thomas J. Bauters versus Kristopher Fear, with Bauters receiving 1,713 votes and Fear receiving 1,274 in both counties.

This morning, Bauters said he was humbled and appreciative to have the opportunity to serve. He looks forward to working  with the same Valley pride that Bryan Murphy did during his 16 years on the board. Murphy did not seek re-election this year. Bauters said he’s “looking forward to working with Superintendent Blaine Conley and the other board members to equip all students to be outstanding – today, tomorrow and beyond.”

With 1,625 votes in the District 5 race, Todd Hoffman is the only familiar face returning to the Tippecanoe Valley School Board of those seeking a board seat. He beat out Craig Durkes, who got 1,513 votes.

Hoffman said, “I appreciate everybody’s votes. Fulton County, I always come up short, probably, mainly, because my roots are not in Fulton. I was raised in Kosciusko, so I feel more people know me in Kosciusko. I really didn’t know how it would go this year.”

Of the 1,625 votes Hoffman received, 1,148 were in Kosciusko County and 477 were in Fulton County. Durkes received 837 in Kosciusko and 676 in Fulton.

Hoffman said he did some campaigning and put up signs three times, but each time his signs came up missing.

“I just really appreciate all the votes I got. I can’t say enough,” Hoffman said.

Two seats at Triton were uncontested. Incumbent Teresa Barnhart retains her District 1 Tippecanoe Township seat, and Kenneth Miller holds on to his District 4 Bourbon seat.

The incumbent for District 2 Etna Township, Steven D. Stichter, also keeps his seat with 783 votes in Kosciusko and Marshall County, beating out Andrew L. Cook who had 629 votes.

Stichter, who has served six years on the Triton School board, said, “I’m excited to be able to serve my community another four years. We have a great community and great leaders. I’m looking forward to moving us forward the next four years.”

He said Triton is in the middle of a building project, which they hope to have finished in the next six months. “Other than that, we’ll keep plugging away at being the best school corporation we can be,” Stichter said.

Of the three school board seats up for election Tuesday at Wawasee, incumbents Robert “Rob” Fisher and Rebecca L. “Becky” Linnemeier will retain their District 1 and 3 seats respectively. They were unopposed.

Incumbent Mary Lou Dixon also will keep seat representing District 2 after receiving 2,132 votes, compared to Steven Baut’s 1,583 and William D. “Bill” Cripe’s 2,006.

Dixon, who has served 16 years on the school board, said, “I’ve got a lot of good luck, and apparently my constituents feel I’m doing a good job or I would not have been re-elected.”

She said she wants to continue to work on safety issues because that’s important in this day and age. She also wants to improve Wawasee’s academics. “None of it is bad, we’ve got good stuff, but you can always enhance what you’ve got,” Dixon said.

At Whitko, Bill Patrick won the District 4 race with 2,001 votes in Kosciusko and Whitley counties, getting 800 in Kosciusko and 1,201 in Whitley County. His competitor, Richard Thomas, received a total of 1,281 votes, including 803 in Kosciusko County and 478 in Whitley.

Patrick said, “The Whitko community has been good to me. I hope I can give something back.”

He said he hopes the board can make good decisions for the kids.

“I?hope everything we do will help the students. The problem at Whitko is a problem everywhere – declining enrollment and funding. I did not run with an agenda, but to help in some way that is best for the community,” Patrick said.

The District 5 race had four office seekers, but Scott Werstler won with 1,622 votes in Kosciusko and Whitley counties. He was followed by Annette Arnold with 1,238; Dale Starkey with 235; and incumbent Jorell Tucker with 199.

A call to Werstler this morning was not returned as of press time.