Based on unofficial finals, two districts will have new members on the Bulloch County Board of Education in January, although both races were close.
In District 5, challenger Glennera Martin outpolled Vernon Littles by just 14 votes, with 197 votes counted for Martin and 183 for Littles.
It was a rematch for the two, as Martin and Littles were the two candidates when he won his first full term on the board in 2010.
Martin, 70, has made education her life's work. After teaching posts in Bulloch and Chatham counties, she five served with the First District Regional Educational Service Agency, then completed a 44-year professional career in central office posts, such as curriculum director and Title I director. Since returning to Bulloch County in retirement, she has been seeking election to the school board.
"I just give all credit to Jesus Christ," Martin said after the unofficial count was posted. She also expressed thanks to District 5 residents, saying "they made it happen," and her committee, a group of six friends and family members who campaigned with her.
"We worked door to door, every day, every day," Martin said. "These people were with me."
With one write-in, for a name not reported in the unofficial tally, the percentage total was 51.7 percent for Martin to 48 percent for Littles.
In District 6, challenger Jimmy "Jay" Cook Jr. polled 407 votes to incumbent Anshul Jain's 374.
Cook, 49, is a banker with BB&T. He and his wife, Candice C. Cook, have a son and daughter, fraternal twins.
While the twins were at Sallie Zetterower Elementary School, Cook served four years on the school's Parent Council and was also a member of the Parent-Teacher Organization board, including terms as its president, vice president and treasurer. Now that his children are at Langston Chapel Middle School, he has served two years on the LCMS Parent Council and is treasurer of the LCMS Band, as well as is treasurer of the PTO, again.
"First I'd like to thank my wife, Candice, and our children, Tal and Hannah, who put up with me the last couple of months campaigning," Cook said. "I'm very excited. I want to thank my church family. I want to thank our extended family, our supporters and especially the constituents of District 6 for all their support and their faith and confidence in me. I look forward to serving."
Jain has served one term on the board. The percentage breakout was 52 percent for Cook, 47.8 percent for Jain, and again, a small fraction of 1 percent for a single write-in.
Each school board district includes roughly one-eighth of Bulloch County's population. The District 5 race included voters in only two of the 16 voting precincts, Statesboro and Pittman Park, while the District 6 race only appeared on ballots in the Emit, Fairground and Pittman Park precincts.
The number of provisional ballots was unknown at press time, as was whether these could affect the outcome of close races.
Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9454.