It was a win for women last week as the three female candidates in the school board race in Brookfield-LaGrange Park District 95 defeated the three male candidates.
Jacqueline Jordan of LaGrange Park led the field with 953 votes, Brookfield resident Meaghan McAteer, finished second with 927 votes and Brook Park Council President Katie Mulcrone won the third and final spot with 910 votes.
Chris Crisanti, 26, who ran on a team with McAteer, finished fourth with 665 votes, while Brain Pencak again came up short in his third unsuccessful race for a seat on the school board with 613 votes. Incumbent Joe Ivan trailed the field, receiving only 271 votes.
Mulcrone said that she didn’t think that the gender of the candidates greatly affected the race.
“Meaghan is a parent at school, so she might have had an advantage there,” Mulcrone said. “I’ve been the BPC president for three years, so my name has been in the community and I have three kids. Jackie did a really great job of marketing herself, getting out there and getting her name known … so I think that had more to do with it than male versus female.”
McAteer said that she didn’t know why finished 262 votes ahead of Crisanti since they ran as a team and campaigned together throughout the race, even going door to door together.
“We ran as a team; we presented as a team, so I don’t know,” McAteer said.
McAteer and Crisanti said they knocked on every door in the district.
“I’m proud that Meaghan and I ran a positive campaign, one that we rooted in knocking on doors and engaging with voters,” Crisanti said. “While I’m disappointed that we couldn’t pull through, I think the district is fortunate to have elected an outstanding individual in Meaghan, and I can’t wait to see the positive impact she’ll bring to the board and the district.”
Crisanti, the founder and head of the Brookfield Democratic Organization, was the only candidate in the race who does not have children, a fact that made some voters question his motives in running for the school board.
“What I think it came down to is I think the district wanted three moms to represent the district on the school board,” Crisanti said.
McAteer said she is disappointed that Crisanti will not be joining her on the school board.
“I ran with Chris, because I believed that he would be very good for the board,” McAteer said. “He has an incredible financial mind that I think would have greatly benefited the board.”
While McAteer and Crisanti went door to door, Jordan and Mulcrone also teamed up, buying joint campaign signs to combat the McAteer/Crisanti signs. They relied on their network of friends and fellow parents and were also endorsed by departing school board member Brian Conroy, who was elected to the Brookfield Village Board last week.
Mulcrone said that she did no campaigning except for attending a couple of meet and greets.
Jordan did a little door-to-door campaigning in LaGrange Park but mostly relied on a Facebook campaign page that she created to reach out to voters.
“I’m tried to be really accessible to people on Facebook,” Jordan said. “I feel like that’s sort of the direction that, I think, voters are going.”
Jordan said that she is thrilled about serving on the school board.
“I’m really excited,” Jordan said. “I feel really fortunate to be able to serve in a district with such dedicated teachers and staff, so I’m eager to learn the ins and out of the district.”
Pencak came up short on his third try to get elected to the school board. He said that perhaps he didn’t campaign enough. Despite three losses, Pencak did not rule out making another run for the school board.
“Never say never, and I’d love to extend my experience to help the district as best I can,” Pencak said.
Six of the seven members of the District 95 school board will be women after Jordan, McAteer, and Mulcrone are sworn in.
“That’s not a bad thing, that’s a good thing,” Pencak said.