Challenger wins school board seat

A new face will join the Newton-Conover City Schools Board of Education.

Jeanne Jarrett won a school board seat in Tuesday's election.

Jarrett, an assistant finance director for Catawba County, received the most votes in the board's Conover district with 522.

Scott Loudermelt, the current board chairman, received 484 votes. They will be joined on the board by incumbent Jim Stockner, who ran unopposed in the Newton district and tallied 616 votes. Mark Murphy, who was unseated by Jarrett, received 297 votes.

"I'm just very thankful for the voters for coming out and having the confidence in me to elect me to the board," Jarrett said after unofficial results were posted Tuesday night. "I'm looking forward to the opportunity to serve the students, the teachers and the administration. I think it will be exciting."

Jarrett said before the election that she believes she can use her financial experience to help the board with upcoming matters related to school budgets. She said Tuesday she will look to the school system's administration for early guidance on issues facing the schools.

"I'm looking to listen to people, weigh all sides, and I think I can weigh all the options and come to a good decision," she said.

Jarrett said she spent all day Tuesday at Emmanuel Baptist Church, one of the Conover voting locations. Loudermelt said he split time between Emmanuel and First United Methodist Church in Conover, another polling site.

"I'll continue to work to make us the best school system in the state," Loudermelt said. "I want to congratulate Mrs. Jarrett and welcome her to the board. To my friend Mark Murphy, he was an excellent board member and great contributor. I'm sorry to see him go, but he's done a great job. We're ready to go forward, and now comes the real work."

Murphy and Stockner did not immediately return calls from The O-N-E seeking comment for this story.