(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Local voters made it clear that they wanted a change in direction on the St. Joseph School District Board of Education. In voting Tuesday, they elected three new members, replacing three men who were running for reelection.
Kenneth Reeder, LaTonya Williams and David Foster will become new board members. Reeder, a local lobbyist and advocate, received the most votes with 4,982. He was followed by Foster, with 4,876 votes and Williams, who tallied 4,200.
Williams, the director of the Bartlett Center, said that she was grateful for the support she received. She added that she hears the message from the community that there needs to be change on the board.
"It's a whole new ballgame," she said. "I will bring a completely new perspective, new ideas, a new outlook and a brand new voice. I'm just blown away."
Foster, a local real estate agent, said his message to voters was clear form the start and he's glad they listened.
"My message was simple. It was always about the kids, particularly at-risk kids who need more attention," he said. "Mental health and bullying. It was about trade schools. I'm a trade school advocate. I was a trade school graduate. It was more ground roots. It was more blue collar. I think, honestly, that's what did it."
Our attempts to talk with Kenneth Reeder thus far have been unsuccessful.
Following the top three, local restaurant manager Colby Oyerly finished fourth, receiving 3,994 votes. He was followed by incumbent Lute Atieh at 3,921 votes. In sixth place was retired teacher David Jordan with 3,864 votes. He was followed by a pair of current board members, Larry Koch with 3,267 votes and Rick Gehring with 3,151
Write-in candidate Michelle Traster received 1,754 votes.
New members will each receive a three-year term and be sworn into office at a board meeting on April 19.