Dozens of contested Arkansas school board races set for May 9

By: - March 22, 2023 3:00 pm

Huntsville is among the school districts with contested school board races in the May 9 elections. (Photo courtesy of Shannon Hahn/The Madison County Record)

Several Arkansans are vying for a seat on their local school board in May, but legislation being considered by the Arkansas General Assembly could change how these elections are conducted in the future. 

Senate Bill 206, which was amended and re-referred to the Senate Education Committee in February, would allow school board elections to be partisan. 

Senate Bill 389 would require school board members to be elected during the general election. School board elections can occur in May or November under current law.

The bill would also create four-year terms for board members and limit them to 16 consecutive years. SB 389 failed in the Senate on Mar. 16, but lawmakers voted to expunge the vote, allowing it to come up for debate again.

Both bills are sponsored by Sen. Clint Penzo (R-Springdale) and Rep. Howard Beaty Jr. (R-Crossett). 

School board elections following current law are scheduled for May 9 across the state. Officials in almost all of Arkansas’ 75 counties are preparing for these races, the majority of which are uncontested.

Those elected in May will oversee a public school environment undergoing rapid change because of Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ LEARNS Act.


Here’s a roundup of the 36 races where voters will have the opportunity to select between two or more candidates on election day:

(* Denotes the incumbent)

Baxter County

  • Mountain Home School Board, Position 6 — Scott Bryant, Scott Booth, Stewart Rogers
  • Norfork School Board, Position 5 — Stacey Ferretti, Jon Casey

Benton County 

  • Pea Ridge School Board, Zone 1 — Ryan Heckman, Adam Yager*
  • Siloam Springs School Board, Zone 3 — Aric Bergthold, Gary Wheat

Boone County

  • Bergman School Board, Position 1 — Regina Chism, Don Mahler
  • Harrison School Board, At Large Position 5 — Kelley McLaughlin*, Michael Bardwell

Cleburne County

  • Heber Springs School Board, Position 4 — Megan Adams, Robin Engholm

Cleveland County 

  • Cleveland County School Board, Zone 3 — Steven Saeler, Kelly Taylor*

Columbia County

  • Emerson-Taylor-Bradley School Board, Pos. 1 — Cody Manuel, Jim Martin*

Crittenden County

  • West Memphis School Board, Zone 1 — Angela Eason, Joyce Gray

Cross County

  • Cross County School Board, Zone 6 — John Andrews, Joseph Katlyn McClanahan
  • Wynne School Board, Zone 4 —Michael Hirons, Jim Huff

Faulkner County

  • Conway School Board, Zone 5 — Bill Milburn*, Donald “Trey” Geier
  • Conway School Board, At Large Position 2 — Jennifer Cunningham*, Sheila Franklin, Jess Disney

Fulton County

  • Viola School Board, Position 3 — Sarra Rowden, Chris Waltrip 

Garland County

  • Lakeside School Board, Zone 2 — Mark Braziel*, Trey Lindsey 

Grant County

  • Sheridan School Board, At Large — Jeremy Orman*, Clarissa Wallace 

Hot Spring County

  • Magnet Cove School Board, Position 1 — Lacy Holley, Troy Cook, Samantha Nuckolls

Johnson County

  • Lamar School Board, Zone 3 —  Amiee Freeman*, Bryan Warren

Lawrence County

  • Lawrence County School District — Clay Sloan*, Scott Brady

Logan County

  • Scranton School Board, Position 4 — Joe Koch, Britt Schluterman, Josh Terry 

Madison County

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  • Huntsville School Board, Zone 2 — Steve Brannan*, Natalie Swafford

Mississippi County

  • Gosnell School Board, Zone 7 — Christian Foster, Cody Mace, Lindsey Rouse
  • Manila School Board, Zone 3— Jackie Hill, Brett Sexton

Ouachita County

  • Camden Fairview School Board, Zone 6 — Judson Lindsey, Malcolm Johnson

Poinsett County

  • East Poinsett County School Board, Zone 5 — Jeanne Glover*, Robin Daniels

Pope County

  • Russellville School Board, Zone 5 — Jason Golden*, Donna Hindsman

Scott County

  • Waldron School Board, Zone 4 — James B. Almon, Stanley Cottrell Jr. 

St. Francis County

  • Palestine-Wheatley School Board, Zone 3 — Vernon Thweatt*, Dustin Lee

Stone County

  • Mountain View, Zone 2 — Deborah Cole, Sue “Linn” Fletcher

Van Buren County

  • Southside School District, Position 5 — Jeffery Todd Hutchins, Kristin D. Smith 

Washington County

  • Fayetteville School Board, At Large Position 2 — Heather Clouse, Keaton Smith*
  • Springdale School Board, At Large Position 2 — Michelle McCaslin Cook*, Donald Tippett

White County

  • Bradford School Board Position 1 — Nicholas Dunn, Will Toddy, Bradley Boatman
  • Bradford School Board Position 2 — Billy Burruss*, Mike Clark
  • Rose Bud School Board Position 2 — Daniel Compton, Daniel Foster


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Antoinette Grajeda
Antoinette Grajeda

Antoinette Grajeda is a multimedia journalist who has reported since 2007 on a wide range of topics, including politics, health, education, immigration and the arts for NPR affiliates, print publications and digital platforms. A University of Arkansas alumna, she earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism and a master’s degree in documentary film.