Incumbents leading in South Whidbey School Board race

It's turning out to be a great night for incumbents on the South Whidbey School Board.

Board members Leigh Anderson and Jill Engstrom are leading in their respective races to retain their school board seats, according to early vote tallies announced Tuesday night by Island County.

Engstrom was leading with 53 percent of the vote against challenger Tom Fisher, who had 46 percent, in the race for Position 5 on the school board. Engstrom has 1,810 votes to Fisher's 1,586 in early returns.

Anderson was in front of challenger Leo Langer IV, 79 percent to 20 percent, in the initial vote tally for Position 4. Anderson had 2,319 votes, and Langer IV had 580, in the first count on Tuesday night.

Langer IV, 38, is a South Whidbey School District employee and an assistant coach for the South Whidbey High School football team. During the race, he promised to be a conduit for parents, staff and students to make sure their voices are heard by the district's decision makers.

A former member of the district's facilities advisory committee, he took issue with the district's move to close Langley Middle School, a decision seen as hasty by some in the community.

Anderson, 52, was appointed to the school board a year ago after Bobby Riggs resigned.

She has vowed to improve student achievement, and also pledged to be a watchful eye as the school district continues to deal with the ongoing financial strain caused by declining enrollment.

Engstrom is also a new addition to the school board. She was also appointed last year, in December when Helen Price Johnson stepped down from the board following her election as an Island County commissioner.

Engstrom, 52, has said she will improve communication and accountability in the district if elected.

Fisher, 60, is a Clinton cabinet maker who previously applied for an appointment to the board. He has faulted the board for its decision to close LMS, and said he would like to see the district place more emphasis on arts education.

Both school board positions are non-partisan.

Position 4 carries a two-year term; Position 5 has a four-year term.

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