One fresh but also familiar face will be sitting at the Red Deer Public School District board meetings after Monday night’s trustee race.
Jim Watters, who served as a public school trustee from 1998 to 2010, was voted back in after a three-year hiatus with a total of 4,943 votes.
“It’s emotional. I’m humbled and grateful,” Watters, 58, said. “I look at my past record and I’ve worked hard and I plan to keep doing that. That’s what I told the people. I’ve walked the talk and I’ll continue that for the voters that gave me this opportunity.”
All of the incumbents were re-elected with the exception of Lawrence Lee, who ran for and won a spot on city council.
Red Deer College instructor Bill Stuebing is taking on his seventh term as trustee, after winning 6,759 votes, along with colleague Bev Manning, the former vice-chair, who came in second place with 6,754 votes.
“I’m real happy with the results and looking forward to working with the board,” Stuebing, 69, said. “We’ll have an organizational meeting at end of the month and then we’ve just got to hit the ground running. The issues haven’t gone away because of the election.”
Manning, 56, said she felt the community had spoken and approves of the direction the board has been heading.
“I think we really need to work at strong community involvement now and see if we can find more and better ways of communicating to work together. That’s one of my top priorities,” said Manning, a graphic designer.
Bill Christie, 66, came in third with 5,833 votes. He said he was feeling happy and relieved as the final results were announced at the Golden Circle.
Christie was followed by Cathy Peacocke at 4,943 votes. Peacocke, 55, was first elected in 2007. This will be her third term.
Dick Lemke, 70, was at home waiting for the final numbers and said he was pleased to hear he’d been re-elected with 4,823 votes. This was his fourth time running for the board, having been elected in 2004 and again in 2010 after he narrowly missed out on a seat in 2007.
Dianne Macaulay was also voted in for a fourth term with 4,849 votes. This was her sixth time running.
“I’m feeling excited, nauseous and relieved. I’m grateful I’ve been given the opportunity again; it’s been kind of a hairy year for me and I was just not sure if I still had their support,” Macaulay, 45, said. “And I’m so proud of everyone who put their names forward and everyone who came out to vote — what awesome numbers.”
Fourteen contenders were in the running for trustee, the largest list of candidates since 1995.
Others in the running who didn’t make the cut were Lianne Kruger at 4,442, Shari Hanson at 3,811, Milt Williams at 3,587, Ben Ordman at 3,299, Kerri Kenworthy at 3,227, Raymond Yaworski at 2,553 and Kurt Spady at 2,314.
New for the trustees this election, terms will be four years instead of the previous three.