Bessie Boyd | Provided

Two incumbents ran for re-election to the LaGrange School District 102 Board of Education last month, but only one was reelected. Tiziana Lambert finished third in the six-person field for four seats on the board. 

But Bessie Boyd finished 222 votes behind fourth-place finisher Kathryn McQuiston, leaving her out of the running after one term in office.

Brookfield resident and former Congress Park School teacher Molly Knott led the field winning 3,194 votes. Catherine Murphy was also elected, finishing second.

Boyd’s loss appears to be due, at least in part, to opposition from those friendly with District 102 school board member — and new school board president — Ed Campbell. 

They apparently did not like that Boyd had accused Campbell of unethical conduct. during a March 2021 school board meeting, where she criticized Campbell for using district saliva testing data in making presentations to other school districts on behalf of the COVID testing company he founded. 

Ed Campbell

Someone complained to the federal government, alleging Campbell used $700,000 in district resources to help his company, Safeguard Screening LLC. Campbell was cleared of any wrongdoing after being interviewed an FBI agent and an agent from the Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Education. 

District 102 hired a lawyer to investigate the matter, with that person writing that she found no evidence of wrongdoing by Campbell.

Campbell’s company shut down last year, but the matter was not forgotten and apparently some of Campbell’s supporters encouraged voters not to vote for Boyd. There was at least one social media post on the Indivisible LaGrange-LaGrange Park Facebook page encouraging people not to vote for Boyd, and at least one letter sent around with the same message.

“Is Bessie Boyd the one who threw Ed under the bus? I’m pretty sure she was,” a LaGrange Park resident wrote in a Facebook response to a post about the school board race on the Indivisible LaGrange-LaGrange Park Facebook page. 

Campbell has friends who are active in Indivisible, but Indivisible LaGrange-LaGrange Park did not endorse school board candidates as an organization. It merely sent questionnaires to all the candidates and posted responses.

Emails and letters were sent encouraging people not to vote for Boyd.  

“Dr. Boyd will NOT earn my vote this time around, as (IMO) she has not been the problem solver I was hoping she would be despite the fact that she is very highly qualified,” one person wrote in an email that was sent around.

Campbell told the Landmark that he had nothing to do with the any of anti-Boyd comments or messages.

“I didn’t encourage anyone to vote against Bessie,” said Campbell, adding that he made no endorsements in the school board race and that anyone encouraging people not to vote for Boyd was not doing that at his behest.

In a text message to the Landmark after a brief telephone interview, Campbell thanked Boyd for her service on the District 102 school board.

“I think Dr. Boyd was an important advocate for equity and inclusion in our district and we thank her for that,” Campbell said in a text message. “I expect those efforts to continue moving forward.”

Boyd, a retired elementary school principal who holds a doctorate in education, was the only Black member of the District 102 school board. She did well in the portion of District 102 that includes southwest Brookfield and east LaGrange but fell short elsewhere.

After the election, Boyd told the Landmark that she saw the post that accused her of not being a problem solver and said that she didn’t understand it.

“My question to that person is what problem would you have liked me to solve, because no one brought any problems to me that they wanted me to solve, and as one board member you cannot solve problems but I do ask questions,” Boyd said.

Boyd said she was disappointed that those who had issues with her didn’t just talk to her directly. Boyd was an active and involved school board member who asked questions and perhaps challenged administrators more than the typical school member.

Not all Indivisible members opposed Boyd.

“There were people who were on Indivisible in the group, and they let me know that they were supporting me,” Boyd said.

Boyd said that her criticisms of Campbell were not personal in nature, but she still believes that he was not honest with the school board.

“I’m talking about the process. I have nothing against the person, but what the person said, he did not abide to that,” Boyd said.

Boyd is at peace with not being re-elected.

“My hopes and my feelings are in the Lord and wherever he wants me to be that’s where I’ll be, and I have peace about that because I know I did the best job I could do as a board member,” Boyd said.