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Votes

Mix of Old, New Faces for School Board

Andrews awaits absentee ballot count; Guzman unseats Cassell.

In the at-large School Board race, incumbent Thomas "Tom" Reed of Leesburg won almost two-to-one over challenger Chris Simmons of Ashburn.

Reed focused his campaign on growth and its effects on the public schools. Those issues include "making sure that schools open on time, that there are enough staff available, that they have a competitive wage," implementing No Child Left Behind and continuing to improve on the Standards of Learning tests, he said.

Reed wants to see the School Board improve communication between the county’s elected officials, including the Board of Supervisors and Loudoun’s town councils.

IN EASTERN LOUDOUN, the School Board's Potomac, Sterling and Sugarland Run Districts had two candidates and the Broad Run District, three candidates. Robert DuPree ran uncontested in the Dulles District.

The candidates for the Broad Run District were Bob Ohneiser, Chalice Radakovich and Phyllis Randall, all of Ashburn. In the three-way race, Ohneiser ended up ahead, with 1,832 votes, 43 percent of the vote and a 296-vote lead over Randall, his closest competitor.

Ohneiser wants to see classroom size reduced and discipline issues addressed. He is concerned about yearly changes in school boundaries causing disruptions to students.

The candidates for the Potomac District are John Andrews, incumbent for the former Broad Run District, and Kathy Lague. They both live in Sterling.

The race came down to the wire on Tuesday night, with Andrews claiming a slim margin of victory before absentee ballots were added to the mix. With a 55-vote lead over Lague, Andrews wasn’t sure whether to anticipate victory or defeat.

"Four years ago when I ran, I was losing ‘til the last two precincts reported," he said. "This year I was losing ‘til the very last precinct reported."

Still, he said, there were more than 1,400 absentee ballots still to be counted, which could leave the real result of the Potomac School Board race unclear until later in the week.

"I’m ahead right now, but I don’t know if that will last," said Andrews.

Andrews supports competitive teacher pay, reducing class size and increasing minority achievement. He considers himself a fiscal conservative and gives priority "to putting money in the classroom," as he said in the League of Women Voters 2003 Voters' Guide.

Lague believes the communication between secondary schools and parents needs to be a priority, along with funding remedial programs, maintaining small class sizes and ensuring that teacher compensation remains competitive. She identified the most critical issue as ensuring that high school seniors pass the Standards of Learning requirements for graduation.

IN THE STERLING DISTRICT School Board race, incumbent J. Warren Geurin beat out Marlene Barney by some 500 votes on Tuesday, winning 59 percent of the vote and 1,915 votes over all.

Guerin's children attended Sterling area schools and his wife teaches fifth grade at Sterling Elementary.

"We still have unmet needs in Sterling Park," said Geurin, a 27-year resident of Sterling. "I want to make sure the job gets finished."

One job Geurin wants to see is the renovation of Sterling Middle School and Rolling Ridge Elementary School, two of the oldest schools in the district. He also wants to see class sizes reduced and School Board members continue to build a positive relationship with the Board of Supervisors.

CHALLENGER Joseph Guzman defeated incumbent Candyce Cassell for Sugarland Run District by a margin of 13 percent of the votes cast.

"It feels very good," said Guzman. "It shows what happens when you get some good people and some teamwork together."

Guzman attributed his success to hard work by his campaigners. "We walked through the neighborhoods, and we had a purpose," he said. "I can’t wait to get to work on our school board."

Guzman wants to improve student performance through expanded summer programs and improved course offerings. His priorities are neighborhood schools, teaching quality, student enrichment and parental participation, as he stated in the Voters' Guide.