PHOENIX — Sarah Wright, a challenger who endorsed the incumbent for a seat on the Phoenix-Talent School Board, was leading with 1,254 votes to Marina Piacentini’s 831 in results issued at 11 p.m.
Wright led by 59 percent to 39 percent.
“I think it's pretty flattering,” said Wright. “I know Marina has been a really great member of the School Board, and I’m honored to attempt to fill the role I know she played.”
Wright filed on the last day possible for the race but later endorsed Piacentini and did not run an active campaign after determining they both had many of the same ideas and agreed on a number of issues. Wright said she had been on the fence about filing but was encouraged by friends and family.
Wright said she will take time to do research.
“Before I begin to work on anything, I’d like to take some time to get to know where the board is first,” she said.
Wright’s position as an assistant with the Rogue Valley Manor Foundation may have been a factor in her election. Earlier Tuesday, Piacentini speculated that the Manor, which lies in the Phoenix-Talent District and is known for high voter turnout, might swing the race.
Some Manor residents told Wright they saw her on the ballot, but she was unsure whether that was a factor in her victory because she doesn’t know how people voted.
Piacentini, a Talent resident, has served on the board since 2011. During the campaign, Piacentini told the Mail Tribune she supports the administrative leadership in making hard choices in the face of a $1.6 million to $2 million budget shortfall for the coming year.
Wright has a background in both public and private arts education. She is in her last term of studies at Southern Oregon University, where she will receive a bachelor’s degree in theater arts.
Incumbent board members Sara Crawford, Position 1; Shana Vos, Position 6; and Craig Prewitt, Position 7; all ran unopposed and were re-elected to four-year terms.
— Tony Boom is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at email@example.com.