It was a rough night for incumbents in Brookfield-LaGrange Park School District 95. Voters on Tuesday ushered in four new members to the school board, unseating an appointed incumbent and a veteran board member in the process.
Leading the pack was Barbara Garvey, a former member of the Brookfield Public Library Board and the wife of outgoing Village President Michael Garvey. Her husband was elected village trustee Tuesday night as well.
Garvey, who teaches kindergarten in the River Forest public schools, finished first with 1,047 votes (21.17 percent) with all nine precincts reporting. She praised how far the district had come in the past several years in terms of curriculum and achievement, and said she wanted to be part of a group that will continue that search for excellence in the future.
“I think we are on a really good path,” Garvey said. “The district has come a long way. We have good leadership, a superintendent who is doing a great job, and a curriculum coordinator who is leading the curriculum in the right direction.
“Our job now is to keep that going and keep standards high.”
Garvey was followed by fellow elementary educator Michelle Maggos, who had 881 votes (17.77 percent) and newcomer Brian Conroy, who collected 847 votes (17.08 percent).
The fourth and final four-year term was decided by a margin of just 29 votes. Pat Speziale (733 votes), who has spent the last six years on the board, lost his spot to yet another professional educator, Rebecca Zoltoski (762 votes).
Brian Elwart, who was appointed to his seat on the board in 2012, finished sixth overall. He received 689 votes (13.89 percent).
The fact that educators did well in this election likely wasn’t a coincidence, said Garvey.
“I think it had a big effect,” said Garvey. “A lot of people we talked to said we needed teachers with the background knowledge to keep the district moving in the direction that we want it to be.”
Garvey acknowledged that the role of a board member and that of a teacher are different but said they share the same underlying philosophy.
“It’s the same philosophy of child-centered learning and putting kids first,” she said.
The school board did retain one longtime board member on Tuesday night. John LaBarbera, who has been on the board for 10 years, was elected in an uncontested race for an unexpired two-year term.
That seat was created because of the resignation of Doris Stanek, who had been elected in 2011. Upon her resignation, the board appointed Elwart to the seat.