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4 incumbents, 1 newcomer land on Johnson City Board of Education

Madison Mathews • Apr 23, 2013 at 10:39 PM

When the polls closed Tuesday night, voters sent incumbents Kathy Hall, Dick Manahan, Tom Hager and Sheila Cox to the Johnson City Board of Education, alongside newcomer John Hunter for his first term on the board.

Seven candidates sought four four-year terms, and two candidates ran for the two-year unexpired term left by Jenny Brock, who took a seat on the City Commission during Tuesday’s election.

Candidates for the four-year seats included incumbents Hall, Manahan and Hager. Newcomers Hunter, Jonathan Kinnick, Kenneth “Herb” Greenlee and Mahmood “Michael” Sabri also sought four-year terms.

Cox will be leaving her four-year seat for the two-year term. Newcomer James Povlich also ran for that seat.

“I think that tells us the voters feel the incumbents in the school board feel that the incumbents as it is have done a great job. We’ve gotten wonderful results. We’re one of the top-rated systems in the state. I think the voters recognize that and return the incumbents,” said Hall, who led the field with 2,923 votes.

Hall, who has been with the board for eight years, will be serving a third term. She has a background in marketing and communications and has one child in the city school system.

“I’m excited to serve for another term on the school board. I think we’ve achieved some excellent results, and I’d like to be a part of its continued success,” she said.

Winning a fourth term on the board in second place with 2,263 votes was Manahan, who has served on the board for 12 years.

“I’d like to thank the voters that voted for me and basically all the people in Johnson City, because I think we’ve got an outstanding Board of Education. Just a couple of years ago, we were school board of the year, and this year, we’re No. 2 in academics in the state of Tennessee, and I think that says a lot about the board members,” he said.

Manahan serves as vice president for university advancement at East Tennessee State University. He joined the board in 1999.

Hager, a veteran school board member of 30 years, finished third in the four-year term category with 2,257 votes.

The longtime board member said this term was his “swan song.”

“It’s really no different that the first time. I’m really excited to have the votes, and I certainly appreciate everyone who voted for me and, more than anything, I really appreciate the people who voted for me all these years and I appreciate their support,” Hager said.

Hager joined the board in 1983 and will be serving for a sixth term. He works as an investigator with the Public Defender’s Office for the 1st Judicial District.

“I look forward to working with the board ... We just need to come up with ways to make our system even better than it is,” he said.

Finishing fourth to capture the final four-year seat on the board was Hunter, who works as a commercial lender with an area bank.

“I’m thrilled an excited and look forward to the opportunity to serve and be a useful asset to the board and the school system to ensure that our tax dollars are being used efficiently and effectively, as I campaigned upon,” he said.

Hunter, a graduate of East Tennessee State University, said he is looking forward to using his background in banking and finance as he prepares for his first term on the board.

“I want to be able to bring a fresh perspective to the board when it comes to the budget and how to look at things,” he said.

Rounding out the four-year term category were Kinnick, a local businessman, with 1,794 votes; Greenlee, Carver Recreation Center supervisor, with 1,430 votes;Sabri, an associate professor at Northeast State Community College, with 80-4 votes; and 42 write-in votes.

Cox, who has served on the board for 12 years, led the two-year term category with 2,208 votes.

“I’m truly humbled and grateful that the voters have returned me to the Board of Education for two more years. It lets me know that they are happy with what we have done over the past few years,” she said.

Cox serves as area director for the National League of Junior Cotillions.

Povlich, who has served with the Parks and Recreation Department, finished second in the two-year term category with 1,544 votes. Seven write-in votes also were counted.

The school board will be sworn in before the May 6 meeting. Officers will be elected in May.

All of the newly elected board members will be joining Lottie Ryans and Tim Belisle on the board.

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