Henbest, Hermansen win Cassville School Board seats

Wednesday, April 4, 2018
John Bickford casts his first ever vote in any election on Tuesday at the Family Life Center in Cassville. Bickford said he went to school with one of the Cassville School Board candidates, which persuaded him to cast a ballot. Bertie Bailey, Kim Keeney, Marolyn Wood and Jim Craig served as election judges. As of 3 p.m. Tuesday , more than 250 has cast ballots at the location. Only two people were not able to vote. The first did not have identification and declined to cast a provisional ballot, and the second had identification, but was not registered. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

Pair of newcomers oust incumbent, replace board president

Two new faces will join the Cassville School Board, as Steve Henbest and Wade Hermansen brought in more than 47 percent of the total vote to rise to the top of the seven-candidate field.

Henbest, in his first-ever bid for public office, led in the results with 662 votes (27.92 percent). Hermansen took the second open seat with 460 votes (19.4 percent).

The remaining results are as follows: Carolyn Bowen in third with 366 votes (15.44 percent); Lisa Roark in fourth with 365 votes (15.39 percent); Mark Kelley in fifth with 253 votes (10.67 percent); Devin Barber in sixth with 136 votes (5.74 percent); and Michael Hagins in seventh with 125 votes (5.27 percent). There were also four write-in votes.

"I'm humbled I won by so many votes," Henbest said. "I appreciate all my friends and supporters who showed up to vote for me. I did not know what to expect. It's pretty cool and I was shocked for about 30 minutes."

Henbest said his first priority on the board will to be to listen to the staff.

"My priority will be the teachers and employees," he said. "They need a little work and attention, and I'm ready to go in and just listen to them. I promise to do my very best."

Hermansen, who garnered 639 votes in a four-person race in 2015 but was edged out by Bowen by six total votes, said he is happy with this year's result.

"It's a beautiful school, and I can't wait to go to work for the parents, teachers and kids," he said. "[Going forward, I want to] get settled and figure out how to work with the existing board to move the school forward."

Bowen, a three-term incumbent, said she wishes the winners the best and appreciates the support she's had over the years.

"I appreciate the support in this election and in the past few years, and I will continue to support the school in any way I can," she said.

Roark said she feels good about the results. as one of her goals was to have more parents on the board.

"I'm excited to get two parents on," she said. "I would have loved to be on, but I think Steve and Wade will do a wonderful job."

Roark felt the large field split up the votes more than in previous elections, and she gave no hint as to whether or not she would run again.

"We'll see," she said.

Hagins said the people cast their votes, and he's happy for Henbest and Hermansen.

"I thank everyone for their support and going out to vote," he said. "I wish [Hembest and Hermansen] the best, and I hope they do the right things."

Hagins said he also felt the large field this year spread out the votes more, and he thinks he will run again in the future.

Barber said the results are what they are.

"This year was more difficult," he said. "There were more people to choose from. I don't see why I wouldn't run again."

Henbest and Hermansen replace Bowen and Board President John Sullivan, who has served on the board for 30 years.

Kelley did not return calls for comment by deadline.

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