Education

Stephens, three newcomers elected to Orange County school board

(From left to right) Brenda Stephens, Will Atherton, Hillary MacKenzie and Sarah Smylie are the early leaders in the race for four Orange County school board seats.
(From left to right) Brenda Stephens, Will Atherton, Hillary MacKenzie and Sarah Smylie are the early leaders in the race for four Orange County school board seats.

Orange County voters on Tuesday returned Brenda Stephens to the school board for a fifth term.

Stephens, 65, a retired library director, was the top vote-getter in the race for four seats, winning 23.5 percent of the vote in the nonpartisan election

"I'm honored to be reelected," Stephens said. "There's a lot of work to be done, and I look forward to working with the three newly elected members of the board."

Sarah Smylie, 40, a former teacher, finished second with 20.9 percent of the vote.

Also, newcomers Hillary MacKenzie, a stay-at-home mom and Will Atherton, who works in information technology at Clorox, rounded out the top four with 19.85 percent and 18.5 percent of the vote respectively.

They will fill the three seats currently held by school board members Donna Coffey, Michael Hood and Tom Carr, none of whom sought re-election to the seven-member board.

None of the other four candidates — including the husband and wife team of Jessica Aguilar and Hawkeye Aguilar, Mike O'Hagerty and James Needham — received more than 7 percent of the vote.



O'Hargerty and Needham both dropped out of the race and did not campaign. Their names remained on the ballot because they did not withdraw by a Feb. 23 deadline.

Greg Childress: 919-419-6645, @gchild6645
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