Two newcomers will join Lawrence school board

Voting on Election Day, voting ballot

Lawrence Township voters returned one incumbent school board member to office and elected two newcomers to sit on the Lawrence Township Public Schools Board of Education in the Nov. 3 general election.

Incumbent school board member Michele Bowes won her quest for another term on the school board, but incumbent school board members Dana Drake and Cathy LeCompte lost their bids for re-election.

In place of Drake and LeCompte, voters chose Gregory G. Johnson and Patricia Hendricks Farmer to fill the two seats. The term is for three years.

Bowes and Johnson each received 4,620 voters, and Farmer earned 4,105 votes, based on the final tally released and certified on Nov. 20 by Mercer County officials. The school board election drew nine candidates for three seats, and a total of 33,925 votes – including 96 write-in ballots.

Bowes said she is “proud and happy” to be able to continue to serve the community, the students, the staff and the school district administration.

“I hope to continue with all the great work we have started. I would like to continue to focus on the student experience and to ensure that our schools are addressing the diverse needs of our community and student population,” Bowes said.

She said she is also looking forward to getting students back into school for in-person instruction safely.

The time spent out of the classroom on remote learning has given the district an opportunity to see learning in a new way, she said. It will be exciting “to see how we can use this to positively impact education in the Lawrence Township public schools,” she added.

Johnson said he is honored to be elected to the school board, and he is looking forward to working with the administration, the school board and parents to address the issues on which he campaigned.

Those issues include hiring diverse staff members, making all students feel welcomed and valued in the schools and “stopping the funneling of Black and Brown students into remedial education programs and away from gifted and talented, honors and Advanced Placement courses,” Johnson said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt many families in our community. We need to reach out and offer assistance to help and ensure that our students don’t feel isolated and left behind,” Johnson said.

Farmer thanked everyone who supported her candidacy.

“I look forward to working with my fellow school board members as we address the concerns raised by the community during the campaign process,” Farmer said.

In other election results, Tabitha Bellamy McKinley received 4,062 votes to take fourth place among the nine candidates. Cathy LeCompte received 4,033 votes and Dana Drake earned 3,947 votes.

Heather Camp got 3,398 votes, Jasmine Surti captured 2,626 votes and Olufunmioloa Ladigbolu received 2,418 votes.