New board member headed to Southwest R-5

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Henderson ousts Bernard for seat, hopes to make mark on board

The Southwest R-5 School Board will have a slightly different makeup soon, as challenger Ruthie Henderson will assume Jeremy Bernard's position on April 17.

Henderson, a first-time candidate for the board, garnered the most votes in the April 8 election with 225 (23 percent). Bernard, who was seeking his third term on the board, received 171 votes (18 percent), which was only eight votes shy of tying with Jerry Rose, who finished in third place with 179 votes (19 percent).

Albert Pendergraft won his fourth term by coming in second with 217 votes (22 percent), and first-time candidate Terry Burgess fell three votes behind Bernard with 168 votes (17 percent). There were five write-in votes.

Henderson said taking the top spot in votes was a surprise to her.

"I was kind of shocked," she said. "I was not expecting to be the top vote-getter and beat one of the others out that has been on the board for a while."

Burgess, who lost a seat by 11 votes, said he is satisfied with the results.

"Obviously I wanted to win, but for as much campaigning as I did, I feel like 11 votes would have made a huge difference," he said. "It's possible I may run again, and I just hope the board makes the best decisions that are suited to the taxpayers.

Henderson, who has children attending Southwest R-5, said she credits her election to residents wanting change, and she's anxious to get started working on the board.

"Some people wanted to see change and I know quite a few people around here being a small town," she said. "I will try to give it my all to make things better and improve the school when I can."

Bernard, Rose and Pendergraft could not be reached for comment on this story.

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