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The Vigo County School Board will have two new faces on Jan. 1, with one incumbent returning.

In District 1, voters chose Amy Lore and incumbent Jackie Lower; incumbent Mel Burks, who has served on the board since 1996, did not win re-election.

Other District 1 candidates included Leah Myers, Mary Howard-Hamilton and Hiawatha Garrett. Two District 1 seats were up for election.

In District 3, Stacy Killion defeated long-time incumbent Paul Lockhart, who had been on the board a total of 28 years.

The vote totals in District 1 were as follows: Lore, 15,607; Lower, 12,581; Myers, 11,787; Burks, 10,975; Howard-Hamilton, 6,714; Garrett, 5,897.

In District 3, Killion had 20,911 votes to Lockhart's 13,543.

Reacting to the news, Lore said in a statement, "I am honored to have such clear support to serve on the Vigo County School Board. I look forward to working with my new colleagues to make open and honest decisions about our finances, collaborating with our community to support great opportunities for our kids, and bringing my knowledge of education and workforce policy to the table as an active board member."

Lower, who's served on the board since 2005, said that it was "an incredibly good feeling that the community supports me. It's a really good validation."

She's encouraged by people's strong participation in the voting process. "I think that is so incredibly important and I would just encourage in the strongest way I can that people stay focused on the schools and decisions we're going to have to make coming up because they will not be easy decisions and not everyone will be happy."

Killion also thanked her supporters and "everyone who came out and voted. I love our numbers as far as voter turnout."

She believes voters "are ready for a change. I think they are ready to move forward — some fresh faces and new ideas. COVID has sure played a role in that, especially with what they are facing with their kids and what they need to do moving forward or who they can talk to."

Both parents and teachers are concerned and frustrated, she said. Parents want to be heard.

One of her priorities will be strengthening technology and making the district a leader in use of technology.

As of Jan. 1 the school board will have one man, Hank Irwin, and six women. Also, except for Lower, the entire board membership will have changed since the 2018 election [six members out of a seven-member board).

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