CHARLES TOWN - A retiring principal in Jefferson County took the highest number of votes in the county's Board of Education race Tuesday evening.
Mark Osbourn, who has served as principal at C.W. Shipley Elementary School for 23 years and in the county's school system for 11 additional years, garnered 3,006 of the votes in 32 precincts.
Osbourn, who could not be reached for comment following the victory, had stated during his campaign that his experience in the school system would help him make decisions at the board level. While he sees the education system in Jefferson County as a good one, it could be improved, including gaining back the trust of the community and school employees and managing the budget to plan for the future, among other goals. Osbourn said he believes he has provided strong leadership in the school environment and wants to translate this to the board of education. He will be joined by incumbent Gary Kable, who garnered 2,312 votes Tuesday. Kable retains his seat while Osbourn fills the seat of outgoing member Alan Sturm.
Kable, who was neck-and-neck early in the evening as polls were reporting with candidate Laurie Ogden, said that his top priority is to focus on the budgetary demands of the Board.
"The budget will be the primary focus for the next two years, especially if the state and local pictures look to be accurate," Kable said.
In addition to budgetary items, Kable said he will be focusing on the construction project at Harpers Ferry Middle School, which gets under way this summer as well as the proposed construction at the school bus garage. There are no state dollars for the bus garage, he explained, so all money will have to be raised locally.
In addition to his local duties, Kable currently serves as the vice president of the State School Boards Association. With his victory Tuesday, he will assume the role of president-elect of that group in July and move into the president's seat the following year.