Aiken has three new representatives on the Aiken County School Board.
Patrice Rhinehart-Jackson in District 7; Dr. John Bradley in District 8; and Cameron Nuessle in District 9 were the winners Tuesday in a special election to fill three vacant seats. The three new members will be sworn in at the next Aiken County School Board meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the district office at 1000 Brookhaven Drive.
In District 7, Rhinehart-Jackson received 392 votes, according to the unofficial results. Her opponent, George A. Grieve, received 74 votes.
Rhinehart-Jackson called her win a “win for Aiken.”
“This is a win for all districts, all kids, all teachers. This was not about me. I am an elected official, and I am for the people: students, teachers, community,” said Rhinehart-Jackson, who is a residential support person for Tri-Development. “I'm looking forward to a level of transparency on the board where everyone is comfortable, everyone is informed of the issues and where we can move forward and progress and bring the Aiken County School District to a premier school district.”
In District 8, Bradley received 330 votes, according to the unofficial results. Kristin Beard received 212 votes; Timothy Govenettio, 46; and Bruce Wheelon, 241.
Bradley said the new board's first major task should be to hire a new superintendent for Aiken County Public Schools and have him or her in place before school starts next year.
“To me, that's one of the major reasons I ran because I want to be a part of selecting the next superintendent,” said Bradley, who is a clinical psychologist. “I felt like I had some insights because of my experience.”
Bradley was an assistant superintendent with the school district for 21 years, retiring in 1990. He was elected to the Aiken County School Board in 1992 and served for 16 years, 13 of those years as the board's chairman.
“I hired three superintendents while I was on the board,” he said. “I felt like I had some experience and insights into what we did right and what we did wrong in the selection of those three. So I felt like I had something I could contribute.”
Bradley said he's grateful to have a second chance to serve on the board.
“It's sort of like going home again,” he said. “I'm looking forward to that.”
In District 9, Nuessle received 661 votes, according to the unofficial results. Bob Byrne received 231 votes; Pam Diaz, 253, and Keith Harp, 263.
Nuessle said he was “overwhelmed” by the support he received.
“While not everyone chose me, I want everyone to know that I have chosen everybody,” said Nuessle, a quality assurance manager at the Savannah River National Laboratory. “I've chosen everybody in the Aiken County Public School District, and I look forward to working together and coming together in a collaborative fashion to continue to make progress when it comes to providing a safe environment for our students, supporting our educators and making our students ready for a career.”
The special election filled the seats of former school board members Rosemary English from District 7, Tad Barber from District 8 and Ahmed Samaha from District 9. They resigned their seats in September after the school board voted to accept the resignation of former Superintendent Dr. Sean Alford.