Despite Brian Bawden's statement in January that he no longer wanted a seat on the Wauwatosa School Board due to his father's changing health, Bawden on Wednesday said he will accept Seat 7 on the board.
He won the election Tuesday.
"What has happened is that my dad, who had very inclement medical conditions, has stabilized. In some ways he's improving, so I'm going to serve until I'm no longer able," Bawden said.
According to unofficial spring election results Tuesday:
Brian Bawden 2,167
Michael Huitink 2,085
Results remain unofficial until certified by a board of canvassers, which met Wednesday, after press deadline.
Carmela Rios formerly held Seat 7 and declined to run for re-election.
Bawden taught in the Wauwatosa School District for 36 years, teaching both sixth and eighth grades. He also was the summer school administrator for 16 years. He currently works with seniors at Elmbrook Church and volunteers in the community.
"It's definitely an exciting thing when a community casts a vote this way," School Board President Michael Meier said. "It's not a surprise because the community likes (Bawden). Everyone knows him; he has a good reputation."
Bawden had said in January that because of his father's health, he would "not be able to devote the necessary attention to school-related issues," according to a Wauwatosa NOW article.
Once a candidate qualifies for ballot status, his or her name appears on the ballot. The candidate cannot withdraw and have her/his name removed, according to the Government Accountability Board.
If Bawden had declined the School Board seat, the vacancy would have been filled by appointment and at some point in the future via a special election, said Reid Magney of the GAB.
"I feel I said the right thing in January based on how my dad was doing. I think it was part of the process last night to think about where I'm at and where my dad is at. I'm committed to being part of the School Board of Wauwatosa and to being a good listener, communicating effectively and helping our district move forward," Bawden said.
Meier said Bawden's work as a former teacher will be helpful for the board's decision-making and leadership of the district.
Bawden agrees, but right now is "interested in getting caught up."
"I've got a servant heart and I'm really interested in being part of the process; improving communication between the board, teachers and administration; and being a voice to different issues that arise," he said.
Candidates who won uncontested School Board races Tuesday were Mary Jo Randall (i) with 3,905 votes, Seat 4; Sharon Muehlfeld (i) with 3,687 votes, Seat 6; and Kristy Casey with 3,668 votes, Seat 5. Thomas Jarosz formerly held Seat 5 and chose not to run for re-election.
School Board members serve three-year terms. The three members who did not face election this spring are Michael Meier, Seat 2; Anne Fee, Seat 3; and Phil Kroner, Seat 1.
School Board officers, including the office of president, will be chosen May 5.
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