The Omaha school board's embattled leader easily retained her seat in Tuesday's election.
Board President Freddie J. Gray defeated James English, a retired Omaha Public Schools teacher and administrator, in northeast Omaha's Subdistrict 2.
This will be Gray's second four-year term. She was appointed board president in January. In August she survived a vote by her colleagues to remove her from the leadership position.
“Thank you so much for your votes of support and confidence in my service to you and the students of the Omaha Public Schools,” Gray said in an email.
Joining her on the 12-member board will be four first-time OPS members, bringing new faces to a group recently known for uncontested elections and familiar faces. It will be the most turnover on the board in 30 years.
Six seats were up for grabs, including four contested races.
The most competitive contest was in Subdistrict 12 in west Omaha, where Jennifer Tompkins Kirshenbaum was leading Patrick Bourne by 60 votes.
Right now, it remains about eight votes shy of triggering an automatic recount, Dave Phipps, Douglas County Election Commissioner, said Wednesday. State law requires a recount when the difference is 1 percent or less of the top vote-getter's total tally. But the county still needs to count 4,000 to 5,000 early votes and an unknown amount of provisional ballots, Phipps said.
Kirshenbaum is an OPS substitute teacher and part-time human resources worker. Bourne is the vice president of commercial business and government affairs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska.
In Subdistrict 4, which covers portions of midtown and South Omaha, Sarah Brumfield beat Oscar Duran. In Subdistrict 8, a portion of southeast Omaha, Danyelle Baratta defeated Andy Allen.
Incumbent Mary Morrissey and newcomer Nicole Nash won running unopposed in Subdistricts 6 and 10, respectively.
Sandra Jensen, Mary Ellen Drickey, Nancy Huston and Kersten Borer are leaving the board with more than 60 years of combined experience.
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