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2022 school board races: conservative candidates win 1 PHM, 1 Goshen seat

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Jennifer Guerra
/
Michigan Radio

Only one of the three conservative candidates running as a block for Penn-Harris-Madison school board prevailed on Tuesday, in a closely watched race mirroring similar battles across the country over how race, diversity and gender are taught in public schools.

Matt Chaffee beat incumbent James Turnwald for the Penn Township seat, but Dana Sullivan prevailed over Andy Rutten in the district’s at-large seat, and current board member Chris Riley beat challenger Brian Jones for the Harris township seat.

A similar result played out in Goshen, which had three candidates — Linda Hartman, Rob Roeder and Ryan Glick — endorsed by conservative group Purple for Parents Indiana. Glick was the only one to win a spot on the board, defeating Angie McKee and Andrea Johnson for the open District 1 seat.

Hartman was one of five candidates for the board’s two at-large seats, but both were retained by incumbents Roger Nafziger and Mario Garber. And incumbent board member Jose Elizalde soundly defeated Roeder for Goshen’s District 3 seat.

“I know how it feels to be unwelcome, to be marginalized and dehumanized,” Elizalde said. “As long as I’m a board member, that’s not going to happen to any of our children.”

“It doesn’t matter what language they speak at home, it doesn’t matter their gender or how they identify themselves, or their parents,” Elizalde added. “They belong, because this is Goshen, and everyone belongs.”

In South Bend, voters picked Mark Costello over incumbent District 2 board member Oletha Jones in a four way race. District 1 candidate Kate Lee will also be a newcomer to the board, replacing incumbent Ruth Warren who declined to run for reelection. District 5 incumbent Stuart Greene also retained his seat.

And in Elkhart, voters reelected incumbent Kellie Mullins and newcomer Mike Burnett for the board’s two at-large seats. They also picked Jeffrey Bliler over Rodney Hohman for the open District B seat.

In Mishawaka, voters soundly reelected at-large incumbent Holly Parks to her third term on the board.

Contact Jakob at jlazzaro@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

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Jakob Lazzaro comes to Indiana from Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and a double major in History. Before joining WVPE, he wrote NPR's Source of the Week e-mail newsletter, and previously worked for CalMatters, Pittsburgh's 90.5 WESA and North by Northwestern.