Phoenix-Talent School District will see a mix of old and new faces

The Phoenix-Talent School District No. 4 board has several close races, but voters appear to favor a mix of incumbents and newcomers.

Incumbents Craig Prewitt and Marina Piacentini appeared to be on the way to victories. New members will be Debra McAlister, who defeated incumbent Nathan Shinn, and Ruth Staten. Incumbent Laura Lotspeich and challenger Dawn Watson were separated by just 33 votes in a 9:21 p.m. tally.

Zone 1 covers the Talent area. Zone 2 includes the Phoenix area and portions of the district in south Medford.

Ruth Staten captured the only seat not contested by an incumbent, Position 1 in Zone 2. David Garcia resigned from the position in March. Staten had 1,143 votes, or 54 percent, to 725, or 34 percent, for Greg Frownfelter, and 224 votes, or 11 percent, for Arron Waldron.

"I'm very excited. It's so exciting to start a new position," said Staten. "I couldn't have done it without a lot of friends and a lot of teachers."

Staten thinks her efforts at circulating flyers in neighborhoods pushed her to the top.

Incumbent Piacentini led Joseph DeLuca with 789 votes, or 53 percent, to 701 votes, or 47 percent, for Position 3 in Zone 1.

"I'm very happy to be able to continue," Piacentini said. "We still have work to do in light of all the difficulties we have faced, but everyone is doing a really good job."

Incumbent Laura Lotspeich led narrowly at an 8 p.m. count, but trailed challenger Dawn Watson 1,010, or 49 percent, to 1,043, or 50.7 percent, in the later tally. They were contesting the two years remaining on the Position 5 Zone 1 term of the late Loretta Nordquist. Lotspeich had been appointed to fill the seat until the election.

Incumbent Nate Shinn, who had a total of 13 years on the board, appeared headed for defeat in Position 6, Zone 2. Shinn tallied 659 votes, or 43 percent, to 865 votes, or 57 percent, for challenger Debra McAlister.

"I'm excited. I'm a retired teacher so I'd like to be proactive, especially with my children's education," said McAlister. "I think I have positive input."

A veteran of 21 years on the board and current chairman, Craig Prewitt won re-election to Position 7 in Zone 2. Prewitt garnered 1,329 votes, or 64 percent, against 738 votes, or 36 percent, for challenger Maria Thompson.

— Tony Boom

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