School board elections see upsets in several races


Tuesday’s school board elections resulted in the defeat of four of the five incumbent Pine Bluff School District board members up for re-election and is sending one of them into a runoff in three weeks.

Zone 2 incumbent Ellen Nichol was defeated by Phyllis A. Wilkins; Zone 3 incumbent board President Herman Horace was defeated by Piccola Washington; Zone 4 incumbent and board secretary Freddie M. Johnson received the lowest percentage of votes in her three-person race and will not be a part of the runoff between Henry Dabner Jr. and Lee Meadows; Zone 6 incumbent board Vice President Donna Barnes will face Leon Jones Sr. in a runoff; and Zone 7 incumbent Chandra Griffin was defeated by Andrea Roaf-Little.

The results from the two contested Watson Chapel School District seats were not nearly as dramatic, with the two incumbents retaining their seats by a wide margin of victory.

Zones 3 and 5 at-large incumbent board Vice President Sandra C. Boone defeated Harold Clark Jr.; and Zone 3 incumbent board secretary Ronnie Reynolds defeated RosLynn Moye.

Candidates had to receive more than 50 percent of the vote to be declared winners in their races. In those races where nobody achieved at least 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates will compete in a runoff to be held Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Pine Bluff

Complete but unofficial results in the Pine Bluff School District school board elections are as follows:

Zone 2

Ellen C. Nichol received 32 votes or 18.39 percent.

Mark Essex Smith received 26 votes or 14.94 percent.

Phyllis A. Wilkins received 116 votes or 66.67 percent.

“I am honored to have been elected and I am excited and looking forward to working with the other board members,” Wilkins said Tuesday night. “I am very thankful to the voters.”

Zone 3

Maurice Dewayne Culclager Sr. received 10 votes or 4.31 percent.

Piccola Washington received 164 votes or 70.69 percent.

Herman Horace received 58 votes or 25 percent.

“I’m excited about the things I’ll be able to do for our children,” Washington said. “I can’t wait for the opportunity to work with my peers. I want this district to get back to the way it used to be, working for children.”

Zone 4

Henry Dabner Jr. received 101 votes or 47.42 percent.

Freddie M. Johnson received 51 votes or 23.94 percent.

Lee Meadows received 61 or 28.64 percent.

“I’ll be doing more door to door campaigning,” Meadows said of his plans for the three weeks leading up to the runoff election with Dabner. “I’ll be talking to as many of Freddie Johnson’s supporters as I can and try to get their votes. I’ll be working more closely at getting the word out.”

Zone 6

Donna M. Barnes received 78 or 32.64 percent.

Leon Jones Sr. received 99 votes or 41.42 percent.

Carvis Campbell received 62 votes or 25.94 percent.

“I feel very good about it and feel that we are going to pull it off,” Jones said of his feelings heading into the runoff with Barnes. “I’ll work to show people that I’m the one they should vote for and I believe we’ll make that case.”

Barnes did not return a call seeking comment.

Zone 7

Chandra Griffin received 44 votes or 15.83 percent.

Andrea Roaf-Little received 169 or 60.79 percent.

Johnny Smith Jr. received 65 or 23.38 percent.

“I’m elated, amazed and humbled by the people speaking so loudly and clearly tonight,” Roaf-Little said. “I am very pleased that they shared my passion.”

Roaf-Little said she has a clear idea of what she wants to do once she is on the board.

“One of the things that we need to do is make a clear assessment of where things are,” Roaf-Little said. “We need to make sure we go in and rectify what needs to be rectified so people can start trusting board again so that they know when they bring a concern to us it is going to be taken care of. I want everything to be done in the best interests of the students, teachers and all of the staff.”

Watson Chapel

Complete but unofficial results in the Watson Chapel School District school board elections are as follows:

Zones 3 and 5 at-large

Harold Clark Jr. received 25 votes or 11.57 percent.

Sandra Colbert Boone received 191 votes or 88.43 percent.

“I am truly elated,” Boone said of her re-election. “I give thanks first to God, next to my husband Walter who has been my staunchest supporter, also to my family and my constituents. I will endeavor to work as diligently as I have in the past in this position. Thanks to everyone who supported me.”

Zone 3

Ronnie Reynolds received 72 votes or 83.72 percent.

RosLynn Moye received 14 votes or 16.28 percent.

“I would like to thank my constituents who believe in me and for giving me five more years,” Reynolds said. “I will continue to work hard and to put the kids first.”