by ALEXANDRA RETTER

 

Incumbent Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS) Board members Nancy Denzer and Karl Sonneman maintained their at-large seats in Tuesday's election, and District One voters chose Pete Watkins as the board’s new member. 

There were four candidates on the ballot in the race for two at-large seats. Denzer earned about 38 percent of the vote, or 8,650 votes, and Sonneman won about 27 percent of the vote, or 6,007 votes. Maurella Cunningham won about 22 percent of the vote, or 4,862 votes. Torry Moore earned about 12 percent of the vote, or 2,781 votes. Moore previously announced he did not wish to be elected. 

“I want to thank those who ran for election, those who turned out to vote, congratulate those who won and [give] a big thank you with gratitude to those who voted for my reelection,” Denzer said. ‘I am looking forward to working with my reelected school board colleagues and welcoming Pete Watkins to the School Board. My continued commitment and promise to you is to serve the students, staff and all of you with integrity, and being open to feedback and your questions.”

Cunningham and Sonneman were not immediately available for comment. 

In the District One race, there were two candidates for one seat. Watkins won the race with about 63 percent of the vote, or 1,763 votes. Ted Hazelton won about 36 percent of the vote, or 998 votes. 

 "I am very appreciative and humbled for the opportunity to serve,” Watkins said. “Getting to know families in District One over the campaign season really gave me a good sense that an overwhelming majority of Winonans really value their public school system. And, they believe it can become even better.” Watkins said he looks forward to hearing his constituents’ perspectives on what to improve and collaborating with fellow board members to make changes. “Our students deserve the freedom to learn, and our teachers and staff need the tools to teach,” he said. “Our community deserves a first-class public school system, and I know the best years for WAPS are still ahead of us." 

Hazelton said he was “a little disappointed,” as he put lots of work into his campaign. He continued, “However, I will congratulate my opponent,” later adding, “I wish him well, and I hope he does a good job on the board, because he does share a number of concerns that I do.” 

Incumbent District Two School Board member Michael Hanratty, who ran unopposed, earned 1,522 votes. 

Education@winonapost.com