By Brandi Makuski
The Stevens Point School Board has three new faces in office following the April 5 election.
Dan Kontos, who by day is the chief deputy at the Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office, won the night with the highest vote tally of 7,914. Incumbent Jeff Ebel won second place with 7,822 votes. Both will serve a three-year term.
Joining the board of nine also is two former school board secretaries: Barb Portzen garnered 7,455 votes, and Amy Dailey, came in fourth place with 6,641 votes. Portzen will also serve a three-year term; Dailey will serve one-year, a leftover term from a previous resignation on the board.
“What a long night,” said Portzen. “We knew it was going to be a big turnout, but I was insecure enough to think I wouldn’t get one of the spots. I’m glad the community gave me their support.”
Dailey had a similar statement of gratitude on her win.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve our community, even for a one-year term,” Dailey said. “Hopeful come next year, we will all be better acquainted and I will be able to serve a full three-year term on the board.”
Kontos, who has a long familiarity with municipal government, said he was “excited to jump in” and help out.
“Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it,” said Kontos jokingly. “What can I say? I’m honored. But I’m not sure exactly why some people make it such a big deal because we should all be looking for ways to contribute to the community, this is just my way of doing it. There are some good people on the board and I’m excited to get started.”
Candidate Rory Suomi, a UWSP professor who admittedly knew very little about the school district, brought in 6,211 votes.
“I ran because I’ve had people ask me to,” Suomi said during a pre-election interview.
The final candidate, Board Member Angel Faxon, earned 4,269 votes, even though she announced in March she had withdrawn from the race for a new job opportunity.
When asked for a comment on garnering so many votes, Faxon said, “I think I ended up with more [votes] this year than last year.”
Karlyn Krautkramer, who works in the district’s business serves office, said she and her staff were prepared for the heavy voter turnout, and said 40,000 votes were cast for the six candidates. Krautkramer and her staff remained in the office until about 2 AM April 6.
“This is not the norm,” Krautkramer said. “It should be, but it’s not.”
Krautkramer said the new board members will be sworn in on April 25, at which time the board will also elect its officers.