Retired Rock Hill educator Jane Sharp unseated eight-year incumbent Mikki Rentschler in one of three races for the city's seven-member school board. She was one of two challengers to win Tuesday.
Sharp, who won Seat 4, brings years of experience as a teacher and principal in Rock Hill schools. She retired from the district in 2008 as principal of Belleview Elementary.
After 12 years on the board, Jim Vining easily kept his at-large seat from challengers Wanda Carr and Ann Morrison.
Vining has been a vocal critic of the district's leadership. He has pushed for more public transparency from the administration and stricter planning and promises more of it.
"I'm glad I won," Vining said. "The first priority is to get the new board members integrated. So that when we go to deal with issues we have a good understanding."
In a tight, four-way race for Seat 2, Political newcomer Virginia "Ginny" Moe took the lead early held it through the night over David Thompson. Jeff Nicholson and Jay Johnson remained behind. There was no incumbent in Seat 2.
While new to the board, Moe is familiar with the district. She has consistently attended school board meetings for two years and has been active in schools. Moe often e-mails administrators and board members with ideas.
"I want to thank everybody for helping me," she said.
Thompson had vowed to be a dissenting voice on the board, which he said is too quick to approve the district administration's proposals without question. He has been pushing for the district to rethink the way it does business.
The nonpartisan competitions for three open seats on the seven-member school board were the most crowded of York County's four school board races. Rock Hill board members get $600 a month. The other three districts' boards are unpaid.
The winners of these races will set policy for York County's school system's during trying financial times.
Board Chairman Patrick White along with incumbents Diane Dasher and Wyndie Havnaer easily kept their at-large seats on the seven-member school board.
Challenger Bryan Smith trailed for most of the night.
"The fact that all three incumbents won is a reflection that the voters in the district are pleased with the direction we've been moving," White said. "The return on the investment that the taxpayers see in the district is pretty good."
Sherri Ciurlik, a former Michigan teacher and current president of Oakridge Middle's parent-teacher organization, won a three-way contest for seat 2.
She led opponents Perry Johnston and Joseph Lefft most of the night.
Ciurlik, whose children attend Oakridge, wants to bridge divides between Clover and Lake Wylie residents who have split over school district decisions in the past. She also wants schools to become more family-friendly to boost parent involvement. First on the list, if elected, she plans to meet with each school's parent-teacher organization.
Lefft, an attorney and assistant professor of sports and entertainment law at USC-Columbia, wants to focus on struggling students and look for ways to spark students' interest in school.
Perry Johnston, owner of Dock Masters Marine Construction in Lake Wylie, stressed fiscal accountability.
Incumbents Joe Gordon and Mack McCarter were unopposed in their respective races for seat one and an at-large seat.
Political newcomer Barbara Parrish was unopposed in her bid for seat five.
Incumbent Shirley Harris kept a wide lead over opponent Austin Dawkins and easily reclaimed her at-large seat.
Citing widespread poverty across the rural city, both candidates agreed not to spend money campaigning, or to compete with one another.
"I've done signs in the past, but this year Mr. Dawkins and I agreed to not run as opponents," said Harris, a 12-year school board member. "We are part of a small community, and we both are dedicated to serving our community. Either they know us or they don't."
Incumbents Mike Smith and Betty Johnson reclaimed seats two and four, respectively, without any opposition.