The East Allen County Schools board will welcome three new members when new terms begin in January, according to unofficial election results.
Sixteen-year incumbent Rick Allgeier, 57, fell to challenger Arden Hoffman, 56, for the District 6R seat. Hoffman took 56 percent of the votes, according to results with all but four precincts reporting. Hoffman, an engineer, was born and raised in the district and has also taught Junior Achievement classes for 25 years.
Hoffman could not be reached for comment Tuesday night, but said before the election that the learning curve would be steep if he were to join the board.
I need to get the facts before I can help, he said. He believes the unification of the district is a major issue. He said all stakeholders need to help set common goals and work together to achieve those goals.
The board’s other incumbent, Terry Jo Lightfoot, 60, will remain on the board after defeating challenger Vince Buchanon after earning about 57 percent of the votes. Lightfoot and her family watched the results closely Tuesday night together, as they warmed up from standing outside voting precincts all day Tuesday, Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot said the support from constituents in District 7E in her re-election shows their support for her and that they know she’s involved in the community – not just in District 7E – but in EACS as a whole.
She said she’s looking forward to continuing to serve as a member of the board.
I really enjoy working on anything that has to do with children, she said.
Robert Nelson defeated Michael Paff for the District 5R spot with 58 percent of the vote.
Both would have been new faces on the board as the incumbent didn’t file for re-election. Nelson said he’s gotten to know Paff and believes either way, the seat would have been in good hands.
Regardless, EACS would have been better. I hope he helps in the future, Nelson said.
Nelson, a graduate of the district and owner of a marketing business, said his three areas of focus won’t change now that he’s secured the seat.
I’m really excited for the things I hope we can do, he said. As one member on a seven-member board, he said he hopes to improve the academic program of the district by ridding it of administrative micromanaging and giving more control to principals and teachers. He also said he would like to help improve communication and transparency in the district, especially with his experience in marketing.
Nelson said he looks forward to diving into the budget to find a way for EACS to operate within its means.
Newcomer Chris Baker will serve District 4E. That district’s incumbent also didn’t file for re-election.