ROCK HALL — In the two-person race for two seats on the Kent County Board of Education, both candidates are the presumptive winners.
Incumbent Joe Goetz and newcomer Francoise Sullivan, who previously ran in 2018, are the only two candidates on this year’s school board ballot.
Goetz is seeking a second term on the five-person board. Sullivan is the likely replacement for longtime board member Bryan Williams, whose term expires and opted not to run again.
All results are unofficial.
As of Wednesday morning, Goetz leads with 5,442 votes, which is 53.2%. He received 1,442 Election Day votes; 2,893 votes in early voting and 1,107 mail-in ballots.
Sullivan has a total of 4,672 votes, or 45.6%. She garnered 1,066 votes on Election Day; 2,473 ballots during early voting and another 1,133 mailed-in votes.
The Kent County Board of Elections reports 122 write-in votes, though the names have not been released.
Goetz is currently president of the Board of Education. He was elected to the board in 2016 and named president in 2019.
Goetz is a corporate account manager for Great Lakes Cheese. His wife is a teacher at Kent County High School. They have two children, a son currently attending KCHS and a daughter who has graduated and is attending college in Pennsylvania.
On Wednesday morning, Goetz said the Board of Education will continue to face challenges like the continued reopening of schools amid COVID-19 and questions about how funding will shape up for the next fiscal year budget.
Goetz said he is grateful for the opportunity to continue serving the school community and the children.
“There’s a lot of work to be done. I’m grateful to be able to continue with it,” he said.
Sullivan said she is looking forward to working with her fellow board members, including the student member, and Superintendent Karen Couch on issues such as COVID-19 and hybrid learning.
“I’m ready to jump in and get started and help,” she said Wednesday.
When Sullivan ran for a Board of Education seat two years ago, she was one of four candidates vying for three seats. She was edged out by less than 120 votes.
She is owner of Moo Productions, a website development company, and a founding member of Support Our Schools. The grassroots advocacy group has argued for additional funding for Kent County Public Schools, launched a Facebook page to keep the school community informed of events and issues and started an annual fundraiser called Random Acts of Kindness.
Sullivan and her husband, a software engineer and geographer for the University of Maryland, have two daughters in the school system. The youngest attends Galena Elementary School and their oldest is a sixth-grader at Kent County Middle School.
Sullivan thanked her family for their encouragement and support. She also thanked her campaign volunteers, fellow Support Our Schools organizers Jodi Bortz and Rebecca Heriz-Smith.
Goetz said he welcomes Sullivan. He said she will bring a “different set of eyes” to the board.
He also acknowledged Williams for his years of service.
School board members are elected to four-year terms. No swearing-in date has been set. Previously board members have been sworn in at the December or January meetings.