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Wednesday, November 07, 2018 1:00 am

FWCS

Incumbents retain seats on board

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Two incumbents and possibly a third held off challengers in races for the Fort Wayne Community Schools board, according to unofficial results late Tuesday.

While it appeared clear throughout the night that voters favored Anne Duff and Maria Norman over challenger Brian Thompson for two at-large seats, it was less certain who will ultimately represent District 4.

With 242 of 292 precincts reporting, unofficial results showed two-term incumbent Jordan Lebamoff leading Rachel Rayburn by 257 votes. He had 2,458 votes, or about 53 percent, while she had 2,201, or about 47 percent.

For the at-large race, Duff and Norman received 25,758 and 23,906 votes, respectively. Thompson got 19,066 votes, incomplete results showed.

This will be Duff's second term and Norman's first full term. Norman joined the board 18 months ago after the school board unanimously selected her to fill Mark GiaQuinta's seat.

The pair canvassed neighborhoods together, an effort that began in September and ended Saturday, Norman said. They spent over 30 hours knocking on doors.

“Thank you so much to everybody,” Norman said, adding she was nervous and excited for her first election campaign.

Being an incumbent helps in elections, Duff said, but it doesn't guarantee a win.

“You never know,” Duff said. “Getting your name out there is definitely helpful.”

In the weeks leading up to Election Day, both Thompson and Rayburn acknowledged they didn't have funds for campaigning materials.

Duff, Norman and Lebamoff bring different professional backgrounds to the seven-member school board. Duff is a former FWCS teacher and guidance counselor; Norman manages the student information portal for Purdue University Fort Wayne; and Lebamoff is an attorney in his family's law firm.

They will be part of the board tasked with selecting Fort Wayne Community's next leader. Superintendent Wendy Robinson has announced she won't seek an extension after her contract expires at the end of June 2020.

Duff looks forward to participating in the search and ensuring the transition goes well, she said.

“We have lots of big grants that we'll still be using once Dr. Robinson retires,” Duff said.

Incumbent Julie Hollingsworth of District 1 was also re-elected Tuesday. She ran unopposed.

asloboda@jg.net