Rochester Public School Board incumbents win races

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(ABC 6 News) – Rochester Public School Board incumbents officially won their races in the early hours of Wednesday morning, along with a new candidate Justin Cook who was endorsed by a current board member stepping down.

Cook will take Melissa Admundsen’s place on the board. He won his race against Rae Parker 62 to 38 percent.

“I feel like this was an opportunity for our community to decide to look forward to the future. Offer a public education system that celebrates the diversity, and that really capitalizes on it,” Cook said.

Incumbent and current board chair Jean Marvin beat challenger Kim Rishavy by a more narrow margin: 57 to 43 percent.

“Parents and students especially: they really want our schools to be diverse. They want our policies to be equitable,” Marvin said.

Cathy Nathan will keep her spot after winning against Elena Niehoff 62 to 38 percent.

“We need to do a better job of communicating the work of the district and what’s happening in our schools,” Nathan included in a list of things she’s planning to work on next term.

And incumbent Julie Workman beat out challenger John Whelan 62 to 38 percent.

“I’m very pleased. And it’s not for myself, it’s for the students at Rochester Public Schools because they deserve for us to follow through,” Workman said.

For those who didn’t vote for the incumbents, Nathan still wants an open line of communication.

“I would encourage them to keep coming to school board meetings. Watch them online. Read the materials, and then ask the questions,” she said.

These board members say that while they all agree on fundamental issues like equity, and creating a safe community, we will likely see healthy debate on more specific policy issues during future board meetings.