After all 38 precincts in Alamance County reported its totals in the 2020 General Election, Sandy Ellington-Graves sat atop the leaderboard in the voting for the seating on the Alamance-Burlington School System’s Board of Education.
Ellington-Graves, a newcomer to local politics, will be making her way onto the ABSS Board with a strong showing at the polls, as she earned 40,301 votes - 15.58 percent of the total vote.
“Absolutely BLOWN AWAY! Thank you for your vote, your prayers, and your friendship,” Ellington-Graves posted on her Facebook page following her win at the polls. “I am excited about the next 4 years and the opportunity to serve our children. Looking forward to working with ABSS leadership, our school board, our parents, our educators and our citizens. I invite you to take this ride with me and hold me accountable along the way!”
Second-place finisher Ryan Bowden, another newcomer to local politics in Alamance County, will join Ellington-Graves on the new ABSS Board with 32,774 votes (12.67 percent).
Incumbent Patsy Simpson will return to the ABSS Board, as she came in third in the final voting with a total of 30,259 votes (11.70 percent).
“Thank you Alamance County. I am honored you trust and believe in me,” Simpson wrote on her personal Facebook page after earning another four years. “I will continue to be your voice and be transparent. I’m always available when you need to talk and continue to keep me accountable. I’m so proud of the candidates that ran for the four seats. Our future is good and I pray they all continue being advocates for our public school system. Thanks and Gos bless. “GOOD TROUBLE” is good in God’s sight and for the people of Alamance County.”
Fourth-place finisher Donna Davis Westbrooks will also be a member of the new ABSS Board of Education when it comes together in a few weeks, as she received 23,319 votes (9.02 percent).
“I am so excited and overwhelmed right now with joy because you have shown your faith, support, and confidence in me to serve on the ABSS Board of Eduction,” Davis Westbrooks said on Facebook after earning her spot. “I promise to work my hardest to serve our community by advocating for our children and our staff on a daily basis. I look forward to working with Allison Gant, Wayne Beam, Patsy Simpson, and Tony Rose who are currently on the board, as well as with my fellow newbies Sandy Ellington-Graves and Ryan Bowden. I know together, we will do what is best for kids! God bless you all!
Seneca Rogers, another of several first-time candidates on the ABSS ballot, narrowly missed earning a spot on the board, coming in fifth with 21,757 votes (8.41 percent).
Current ABSS member Brian Feeley has lost his seat on the elected board, as he came in with an eighth-place finish out of 11 candidates with 18,619 votes (7.20 percent).
“Congratulations to now four-term board member Patsy Simpson, and to Sandy Ellington-Graves, Ryan Bowden and Donna Davis Westbrooks. They have each been elected by the voters of Alamance County. I was not,” Feeley said on his campaign’s Facebook account.
“I wish them well in their service, especially during this critical time for our school system and for our entire community. We need them to succeed. I am incredibly disappointed right now, but my chin is up and my heart is full because I know what I've done, and what I was willing to do, in the name of service. In the days ahead before my term ends, I will share a few reflections and hopes.”
Other results include Paula Harrison (sixth place - 21,156 votes 8.18 percent), Dayson Pasion (seventh place 20,181 votes - 7.80 percent), John Coleman (ninth place - 17,817 votes 6.89 percent), Kathy Dickens (tenth place - 15,594 votes 6.03 percent), Linda Roach Kinney (eleventh place - 15,325 votes 5.92 percent).
The new Alamance-Burlington School System Board of Education will consist of Ellington-Graves, Bowden, Simpson, Davis Westbrooks, and returning members Allison Gant, Tony Rose, and Wayne Beam. Steve Van Pelt is retiring, while Pam Thompson was elected to a seat on the Alamance County Board of Commissioners.