NEWFANE -- For the first time in years, Newfane School Board has no vacancies.
Luke Q. Stafford and David VanPamelen won seats on the board in a special election Tuesday, beating three other candidates who were vying to finish two unexpired terms on the governing body.
Stafford and VanPamelen join Ken McFadden on the board.
"Any of those people on that ballot would have been great, really," VanPamelen said after ballots were counted Tuesday evening. "I saw a need, and I felt somebody ought to stand up and volunteer."
That need was plain after Newfane Town Meeting in March. While voters complied with a request to downsize the school board from five seats to three, two vacancies remained nonetheless.
That's because McFadden, an incumbent, was the sole school director candidate on the ballot. And no one received enough write-in votes to win either of the other two seats.
The regional NewBrook Elementary is governed by a joint Brookline-Newfane board, so the school's business could move forward. But McFadden was unable to perform certain Newfane-specific functions, and he was the sole Newfane representative on the Windham Central Supervisory Union board.
So officials called the special Newfane election and were happy to see five candidates sign up, though none of them had ever held or sought elected office before.
Running for the final year of an unexpired three-year term were VanPamelen, Laura Taylor and Tammy L. Mace. For the final two years of another unexpired three-year term, Stafford was paired with Teresa Stores.
According to results released Tuesday night by Newfane Town Clerk Gloria Cristelli, VanPamelen won the one-year seat with 66 votes. Mace and Taylor each garnered 50 votes.
The margin was wider in the other race, with Stafford earning 102 votes while Stores had 61.
VanPamelen's wife, Joyce, is a NewBrook teacher. He works at an auto-parts store and has said he is concerned about preserving local control in education.
"I'm sure it's going to be a long learning process, but it will be fun," he said after winning the board seat Tuesday.
Stafford owns Mondo Mediaworks in Brattleboro. Prior to the election, he said he was motivated to run by the fact that his two young daughters soon will enter NewBrook.
"If I can be directly involved in assuring a quality elementary school experience for them and my neighbors' children, I'm there," Stafford said.
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.