Sandra Greene joins four incumbents in Union County school board victories
Sandra Greene will be the only new member of the Union County school board, with incumbents Jimmy Bention Sr., Gary Sides, Kathy Heintel and John J. Kirkpatrick IV holding onto their positions.
Kirkpatrick will continue to be the only Democrat on the board.
Union County is one of 42 North Carolina counties that held partisan school board races this year. Each of the five seats on the ballot was contested.
Here are the final but unofficial results.
At large: Bention
Bention was appointed to fill a vacant at-large seat in 2020. He had previously filled an unexpired term in 2014. He is a pastor and served as the first Black chair of the Union County Republican Party, according to his campaign website.
Bention took 65.06% of the vote, with 34.94% going to Democratic challenger Weston Burroughs.
District 1: Kirkpatrick
Kirkpatrick, the only Democrat on the board, had the closest race, ending with 51.57% of the vote. Kirkpatrick was appointed to the District 1 seat in March 2021 when another board member resigned.
Kirkpatrick is a pastor who graduated from Union County schools and has worked there as a substitute and teacher assistant, according to his campaign website. He currently works with the Transforming Youth Movement.
Republican Colleen Kamolnik took 48.43% of the vote.
District 3: Sides
Republican Gary Sides has represented District 3 since 2014. He owns an insurance agency and serves as the board’s liaison to the North Carolina School Boards Association.
He took 70.42% of the vote, with Democratic challenger Maria Palacios taking 29.58%.
District 4: Greene
Greene, a Republican, is a parent of Union County students and works in finance. She began appearing at school board meetings during the pandemic to talk about “mask mandates, quarantine and contact tracing protocols, critical race theory, and parent involvement in our schools,” according to her campaign website. She is the child of immigrants from Argentina.
She took 70.12% of the vote, with 29.88%% going to Democrat Jodi McConkey.
There was no incumbent because board Chair Melissa Merrell ran for county commissioner.
District 6: Heintel
Heintel, a Republican, has represented District 6 since 2016. She is vice chair of the school board, chairs the board’s finance and facilities committees and serves as the liaison to the Board of Commissioners. She has children in Union County schools. She says on her campaign website that her experience as a corporate lawyer and her volunteer work in schools prepared her for board work.
She took 60.06% of the vote, with Democratic challenger Steve Martin getting 39.94%.