If the vote totals hold out, retired superintendent Dennis Craft will be the newest member of Collinsville Unit 10 school board, thanks to a write-in campaign victory.
Four seats came open on the Collinsville Unit 10 board, but only three names were on the ballot Tuesday: Gary Clark, Wayne White and Jane Soehlke. But there were write-in candidates as well, and since there were four seats open, the top vote-getter among the write-ins will take the fourth seat on the board: Craft.
The school district sits on the border between Madison and St. Clair counties, so votes from both counties must be tallied. Vote counts are final but unofficial until the canvass is complete on April 18.
Robert Hails received 359 votes in Madison County and 42 in St. Clair County for a total of 401 votes. Scott Penny Jr. received 448 votes in Madison County and 458 in St. Clair County for a total of 906.
Craft received 949 votes in Madison County alone. Although St. Clair County currently shows no votes for Craft, if the vote totals hold, Craft will soon begin a four-year term on the Unit 10 board.
Craft said he had not intended to run until after the ballots closed and it became apparent there would only be three candidates for four seats. At that point, he said, he decided to run as a write-in candidate. Craft said he was “overwhelmed” by the vote, and is determined to help work on the problems faced by Unit 10 and all school districts in the current economic climate.
“Of course, it’s a different perspective as a board member than as a superintendent,” Craft said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Craft, 66, worked for Collinsville Unit 10 for 37 years. A graduate of Collinsville High School, he received his masters degree from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and his doctorate from St. Louis University. He served as teacher and building principal for several years before becoming superintendent in 2000. He retired in 2011.