By Jackie Gorski
And Deb Patterson
WARSAW – There will be some changes in area school boards, as well as some incumbents who will retain their seats.
Tom Westerhof won 54.11%, or 763 votes, of the vote to represent District 1 on the Warsaw School Board. Opponent Matt Dick received 647 votes, or 45.89%.
Westerhof said Tuesday night he was feeling grateful. He said Dick was a great guy, as well as Mike Coon who Westerhof is taking over for but did not seek re-election. Westerhof looks forward to talking to both Dick and Coon and getting their thoughts.
Debra Thomas won the position on the Whitko School Board for District 4. She received 794 votes in Kosciusko County and 575 votes in Whitley County for 51.62% of the vote. Opponent and incumbent Bill Patrick received 589 votes in Kosciusko County and 694 in Whitley County for 48.37% of the vote.
Thomas said she is very happy to serve Whitko for the next four years.
Teresa L. Barnhart won the position on the Triton School Board for District 1 with 199 votes in Kosciusko County and 789 in Marshall County, or 77.97% of the vote. Opponent Robert Grigsby received 82 votes in Kosciusko County and 197 in Marshall County for 22.02% of the vote.
Barnhart could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.
Neil Likens, District 1, and Steve Baut, District 3, will be joining Andy Cripe, District 2, on the Wawasee Community School Corp. Board of Trustees beginning on Jan. 1. Likens will be filling the seat currently held by Rob Fisher. Baut will be replacing Rebecca Linnemeier. Both Fisher and Linnemeier opted not to seek re-election. Cripe is an incumbent.
Likens led the District 2 seat throughout the evening, defeating his opponent Heather Coy, 2,778 to 2,357.
It was neck and neck between Steven Baut and Brian Weideman with Baut winning by 25 votes, 2,359 to 2,334.
“First of all, I’d like to say all the candidates did a fantastic job. I’m honored and looking forward to working with this team and the community. Thank you to all who voted for my, my family and friends and their personal support throughout this journey,” stated Likens.
Baut could not be reached for comment.
Likens is a husband and father of three Wawasee School Corporation students. Likens and his wife, Megan, are also small business owners within the school district. He has dedicated his life to public service as an EMT and fireman and he is currently a detective sergeant with the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office.
Baut is a husband and father of three. He has two sons who graduated from the Wawasee district and a daughter in fourth grade at Milford. He has also coached soccer and basketball teams for Lakeland Youth Center.
Cripe, who was unopposed, will retain his seat for District 2.
In other uncontested races, Heather Reichenbach received 1,370 votes for Warsaw School Board District 2. Denny Duncan Received 1,565 votes for Warsaw School Board District 5. Bradly Johnson received 1,491 votes for Warsaw School Board District 7.
There were no contested races for Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation. David Lash received 1,402 votes for District 3, Thomas Bauters received 1,275 votes for District 4 and Todd Hoffman received 1,378 votes for District 5.
Also at Triton School Board, incumbent Steven Stichter received a total of 1,132 votes for District 2 and Kenneth Miller received 1,133 for District 4. They were unopposed.
For Whitko School Board, Scott Wrestler, also unopposed, received 2,179 votes for District 5.