MCCSC school board races: Four seats filled with one new member, three incumbents

On Tuesday, voters in the part of the county served by the Monroe County Community School Corporation returned three incumbents to their seats on the board of trustees and put one new member on the board.

Winning a seat on the non-partisan board for the first time was April Hennessey, who prevailed in a three-way race that included Matthew Smith and incumbent Sue Wanzer.

Incumbent Cathy Fuentes-Rowher prevailed over challenger Marsha Lovejoy.

Incumbent Jacinda Townsend-Gides prevailed over challenger Philip Eskew, Jr.

District 5 incumbent Keith Klein, who has served as trustee since 2009, was unopposed. He is an adjunct faculty member in communications at Ivy Tech Bloomington.

The school corporation’s land area is divided into districts to ensure some geographic diversity of representation by trustees. But residents of the whole area vote on each trustee. Hennessey’s win was based on support across the MCCSC geographic area.

In the District 2 three-way race, Hennessey received 21,541 votes (57 percent) compared to 9,555 (25.3 percent) for Wanzer and 6,616 (17.5 percent) for Smith.

Of the 71 precincts in the school corporation’s geographic area, Hennessey had a majority of votes in 13 of them, and a plurality over either of the other candidates in the rest of the precincts.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday night Wanzer said, “I just sent a note of congratulations to April Hennessy… I will always be available to support public education and MCCSC. Thanks to everyone who voted for and supported me. It’s been a great ride and I still have 2 months of work to do.”

The start of next year will mark the end of two decades of service on the school board for Wanzer, who was first elected in 2001. She also serves on the board of the Bloomington Housing Authority. She was previously deputy clerk for the city of Bloomington.

Hennessy is a digital learning specialist for GP Strategies Corp., a company that provides learning strategies to organizations. Previously she taught English at Bloomington High North School.

Smith works at C&C Sheet Metal as a project manager and estimator. He served for 12 years in the Indiana National Guard. He earned a bachelor of arts in business administration from Indiana State University.

The race for the District 4 seat was closer than for District 2 or District 6. Fuentes-Rowher received 20,243 votes (58.4 percent) compared to 14,414 (41.6 percent) for Lovejoy. In 15 precincts, Lovejoy outpointed Fuentes-Rowher. If the outcome had been determined based just on Election Day voting, Lovejoy would have prevailed with 6,553 votes (51.2 percent) to Fuentes-Rowher’s 6,255 (48.8 percent).

Lovejoy is global manager of external corporate communications at Cook Medical.

Fuentes-Rowher has served on the school board since 2017. She is co-founder and president of the Indiana Coalition for Public Education, which is a statewide bipartisan advocacy group.

In District 6, Townsend-Gides received 21,829 votes (63.9 percent) compared to 12,343 (36.1 percent) for Eskew. The challenger won a half dozen precincts.

Eskew is a former Indiana University trustee. He is retired as a physician. He served as director of ob/gyn residency at St. Vincent Hospital.

This was the first MCCSC school board election won by Townsend-Gides. She was appointed to the board in January 2020 by a vote of other trustees to replace Lois Sabo-Skelton, who resigned in late 2019. Townsend-Gides is a novelist. She was the Appalachian Writer in Residence at Berea College for the spring 2020 semester.

All 2020 Monroe County Results

[Canvas Report] [Cumulative Results] [Results by Precinct]