JOHNSON CITY - By decisive margins, Johnson City voters sent Jenny Brock, Tim Belisle and Ralph Van Brocklin to the city's Board of Education in Tuesday's election.
"I'm just excited about working for our children and serving the people of Johnson City," said Brock, who led the six-candidate field with 5,407 votes.
Brock, a former educator and human resources manager, attributed her success to the aggressive walking campaign she waged for months leading up to Tuesday's vote. She had canvassed the city's neighborhoods, often going door to door alongside City Commission candidate Jeff Banyas.
"I think the key was getting out in the community. I knocked on more than 5,000 doors, and I just met some wonderful people," she said, adding that she was well-received by residents. "I really focused my campaign looking at the future of our schools."
Belisle, an attorney for a local hospital system, was second with 4,536 votes, finishing well behind Brock but strong enough to comfortably win a seat during his second bid for the board. He just missed election in 2005.
"I think the key was that the voters looked to the candidates who had the skills to hit the ground running," Belisle said.
Finishing third to win the final seat was Van Brocklin, a local oral surgeon. He captured 4,152 votes, more than 1,400 votes ahead of fourth-place finisher Tom McKee.
"I'm certainly grateful that the voters elected me to this position. I'll do everything I can to look after that trust," Van Brocklin said as he celebrated with family members and friends at a local barbecue restaurant. "A lot of people worked really hard for me."
McKee, a former Johnson City mayor who ran almost exclusively on name recognition, garnered 2,705 votes. Finishing fifth was Carver Recreation Center Director Kenneth "Herb" Greenlee with 2,159 votes. Rounding out the pack was James Nagy, a claims representative at the local U.S. Social Security office, with 1,804 votes.
In May, Brock, Belisle and Van Brocklin will take seats on the seven-member panel, succeeding two-term board members Dick Manahan, Karen Smith and Marcy Walker. All three chose not to seek re-election, leaving the field free of incumbents, but Walker made a successful bid for the City Commission.
Brock, Belisle and Van Brocklin will join Chairwoman Lottie Fields Ryans, Vice Chairwoman Sheila Cox, Secretary Kathy Hall and veteran member Tom Hager, all of whom have two years remaining on their four-year terms.
The three newcomers said they thought the new board would be a successful combination.
"I'm really pleased with the makeup of the board," Van Brocklin said. "I think this is going to be an excellent Board of Education. They're all people who are committed to a better system for our students, and I'm pleased to have the opportunity to be part of that."
Belisle said he "absolutely" expected the new school board to work well with the new City Commission. Banyas and Walker joined Vice Mayor Phil Roe in the victory column on Tuesday, knocking off incumbents Ricky Mohon and Pete Paduch.
"I have good relationships with each of them, and I look forward to working with each of them," Belisle said.
Brock said she thought the potential was great for a successful relationship between the two city panels.
"I think we have just a great future ahead for both the City Commission and the school board," Brock said.