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Three new members elected to Gaston County school board

Gaston County campaign signs
Ann Doss Helms

Josh Crisp, Tod Kinlaw and A.M. Stephens III were elected Tuesday to join the nine-member Gaston County school board. Incumbents Dot Cherry and Lee Dedmon were re-elected without opposition.

According to final but unofficial totals, Crisp won 64.91% of the vote to represent Dallas Township. Incumbent Steve Hall didn’t seek re-election.

Crisp is director of the Regional Emergency Services Training Center at Gaston College. According to his campaign website, he and his daughters graduated from Gaston County Schools and his wife is a teacher assistant there. A Republican, he campaigned on putting more school resource officers in schools, making all curriculum accessible to parents and phasing out standardized testing.

Glenn Bratton, a retired Gaston County police officer and unaffiliated voter, took 34.28% of the vote.

Kinlaw wins in South Point

Kinlaw came in first in a five-person race to represent South Point Township, with 47.06% of the vote. There was no incumbent because Justin Davis, an attorney, ran for Superior Court judge.

Kinlaw, who works in drywall sales, told The Gaston Gazette he has officiated youth sports and served as a mentor in Gaston County Schools. He’s a Republican who said his top priority is getting problems with the district’s payroll fixed.

Joe Green, who is unaffiliated, took 24.17%. Lisa Smith, a Republican, had 13.29%. Unaffiliated Michelle Hughes had 12.88% and Libertarian Nate Seedorf had 1.95%.

Three uncontested races

Stephens was elected without opposition to the Riverbend Township seat being vacated by Kevin Collier after 14 years. Stephens lives in Mount Holly and has three children in Gaston County Schools, according to his campaign website. He’s a Republican who works as a wealth management consultant.

Cherry, the board’s vice chair, won an at-large seat without opposition, and Dedmon won an uncontested race to represent Gastonia Township. Both have served eight years.

Gaston County’s district representatives must live in the township they represent, but they are elected countywide in a nonpartisan race.

Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.