(This story has been updated to include comments from candidates.)
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — Amber Leifheit and Dale Yakaites have locked down the two open spots on the Marshfield School Board with Dan Wald and Mark Critelli falling short on Tuesday night.
Incumbent Leifheit defended her seat, and Yakaites will take the seat vacated by board member Pete Mancl, who did not run for re-election. Leifheit earned 5,026 votes, Yakaites 4,448, Wald 3,397, and Critelli 2,955 according to an unofficial tally provided by the Marshfield School District. Results are considered unofficial until the district’s board of canvassers does the final tally of votes.
Leifheit is the executive director of the Marshfield Area Community Foundation and is the current school board vice president. She served on the board from 2008-2011 and from 2013 to the present.
“I’m excited, and I want to thank my supporters and also congratulate the other candidates because we really did have four outstanding candidates. I think that’s a real testament to Marshfield and how much we really support education,” Leifheit said. “I look forward to all the exciting things happening in the future with the school board.”
Yakaites played several roles in the Marshfield School District prior to his retirement in 2006. He taught English, served as the district’s publications director and computer coordinator, and coached athletics.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to serve the district and the families and taxpayers, students in the district. I’m humbled by the show of support and gratified,” Yakaites said on Tuesday night. “When I retired in 2006, for a number of years I just felt like there was still a little something missing and felt that tug to still be involved in the school district because it was so much a part of my life.”
“I look forward to working with the other school board members as a team to keep our schools among the best in the state,” Yakaites added. He also noted, “I hope to be able to work with other board members to contact state lawmakers to try to do something about the inequities in school funding, and hopefully some of those challenges can be worked on.”
Yakaites also cited the ongoing discussion about the district’s athletic facility needs and teacher retention as issues on his list of priorities moving forward.
Critelli expressed gratitude to his supporters when reached for comment, saying in an email to Hub City Times, “Congratulations to Amber and Dale. Thank you to all those who have supported me. It is deeply appreciated.”
Wald has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Yakaites and Leifheit will be sworn in on or before April 27, according to Board of Education Secretary Jenni Heeg. Yakaites will join Leifheit, Marlene Stueland, Dorothy Chaney, Frances Bohon, Mary Carney, and Mark Konrardy on the board of education.
School board members serve three-year terms.