Updated Wednesday, 12:30 p.m.
Rhonda Lennon of Huntersville is the new District 1 representative on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board.
“I’m so excited,” she told DavidsonNews.net Wednesday morning, after staying up until 2 a.m. to follow election results and then getting back up at 6 a.m. to pack her kids off to school.
Lennon gathered just under half the votes in the three-way race to represent northern Mecklenburg County on the school board. She called her 49.81 percent win “close enough” to her goal of 50 percent. She defeated Robin Bradford, who came in second with 30.7 percent of the vote, and Gail Summerskill, who was a distant third, for the seat held by Larry Gauvreau, who did not seek re-election. Ms. Lennon won 19 of the 29 precincts in District 1, including both in Davidson.
Ms. Lennon said she received a congratulatory call from Davidson Mayor John Woods, and also had a post-election phone conversation with Ms. Bradford, who was the top vote-getter in 10 precincts, all at the edges of the city of Charlotte. “I want to make sure I reach out to that community,” Ms. Lennon said. “Robin did a great job and I’d love to be able to get together with her soon.”
That attitude is in marked contrast to incumbent Larry Gauvreau, who was known for voting “no” in all school board votes and for keeping a low profile in his district.
“There’s a new chick in town,” Ms. Lennon said, acknowledging the change. “I need to build bridges to all of our district.”
Ms. Lennon said she was “quite shocked” at the margin of her win in Precinct 127 in Davidson, a Republican stronghold that votes in Hopewell Baptist Church and gave her 74 percent of the vote in the District 1 race.
“I’m thrilled to have won both Davidson precincts,” she said.
Ms. Lennon said her priorities are to visit all 28 of the schools in District 1 before Christmas break, set up a “leaders round-table” of PTA members from District 1 schools, and start a regular monthly coffee time that would rotate throughout the district and include stops at Summit Coffee.
She has orientation this month and will be at the November school board meeting, and then officially installed Dec. 8 at the government center in Charlotte. She is part of a dramatic change in leadership for the CMS board, which gained five new members Election Day. The current board chair, Molly Griffin and another incumbent besides Mr. Gauvreau did not seek reelection, while two additional incumbents resigned to become county commissioners.
Ms. Lennon, a Registered Nurse at Presbyterian Hospital and a Realtor at Keller Williams Realty in Cornelius, totaled 9,067 votes, or 49.81 percent. She swept the north of the county, including the two Davidson precincts, where she garnered 74 percent of the vote at Hopewell Baptist, and 60 percent of the vote at Davidson Town Hall.
Robin Bradford came in second with 5,589 votes, or 30.7 percent. Gail Summerskill placed third, totaling 3,441 votes, or 18.9 percent.
Though Dr. Summerskill did not win any precincts outright, in Davidson’s precincts she had some of her best results, placing second to Ms. Lennon and garnering 21 percent of the Town Hall vote and 13 percent of the Hopewell Baptist vote (as compared to 19 and 12 percent, respectively for Ms. Bradford).