With all three polling places reporting in, unofficial results of Tuesday's Capital School District Board of Education election show a victory for candidate Sean P.M. Christiansen.
With all 601 votes tallied, Christiansen, 35, received 376 votes, or 62.56 percent of the total. Candidate Dennis S. Hallock Sr. garnered 209 votes or 34.78 percent, while Faye Della White received 16 votes, or 2.66 percent.
Results started trickling in to the Kent County elections office soon after the polls closed at 8 p.m. Paperwork and cartridges from election machines at William Henry Middle School arrived by about 8:15 p.m.; results from Hartly Elementary School came in at 8:22 p.m., with data from East Dover Elementary arriving last at 8:34 p.m.
The final numbers were announced by Director Joyce L. Wright.
Christiansen accepted congratulations from members of the board, including Dr. Raymond Paylor, whose seat he will assume in July. Other board members present included President Kay Dietz-Sass and Vice President Phillip Martino Jr., as well as former Capital Board members C.C. "Bud" Wagner and Douglas VanSant.
Capital School District board members serve five-year terms.
Christiansen said he's looking forward to getting started.
"The entire time, our motto has been, 'It's for our children, our schools and our future,'" Christiansen said. "Our children are the basis for this.
"I'm hoping to bring unity to the board of education and plan to work toward a common goal to make Capital School District the best in the state."
Asked for his take on the election results, Hallock initially stated, "No comment," but later said, "The district got what it got. I hope they're happy with the results."
White could not be reached for comment.
Christiansen said the key to victory in his first electoral campaign was organization and telling people the truth.
"Getting the message out and being true to what you actually believe in is an easy sell for any one," he said. "I believe in the school district, public education and our children being our future. If you believe in something that's so true, you have to fight for it. I've got the will, the endurance and the fight for the children of the Capital School District."
Regarding his earlier statement about unifying the board, Christiansen noted many board decisions are split decisions, with any real debate being done behind closed doors. His intention is to become "the voice of reason to make sure the pros and cons are heard on all subject so the board can make informed decisions."
Christiansen also feels there is a disconnect between the board and the taxpayers, parents, residents and teachers in the district.
"I think if you put the board members in a room with 50 other people, I don't think the district teachers could actually pick them all out," he said.
Page 2 of 2 - To learn more about what goes on in each school Christiansen said has told District Superintendent Dr. Michael Thomas he wants to go into each school and find out what's going on with everyone, from administrators to teachers to custodians.
Of the board's working relationship with Thomas, Christiansen noted there have been differences.
"You obviously have members who don't agree with some things Dr. Thomas has done," he said. "But you have to work with the superintendent. He'll be there for at least another two years. Let's work with him to improve the district and in the best interests of the district and move on to other issues."
Christiansen ended by saying he wished to thank those who voted for him, and appreciated everyone who came out for the election. However, he also felt there should have been more interest in who sits on a school board.
"These are some of our most important elections," he said. "We deal with millions of dollars in taxpayer money and what we do affects our children.
"This is the closest form of government to the people, but it's also one of the ones most out of touch with the people."