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Vellotti, Stiggers win school board elections

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Voters in Grayson County and across the nation went to the polls Tuesday as a part of November elections.

The Sherman Independent School District Board of Trustees will have one new member following Tuesday night's board elections.

After the last ballot was counted, Wendy Vellotti came out on top in a three-person race for the Place 7 seat on the school board, replacing long-time member Rob Wilson.

"I am just very passionate about our teachers and our staff and I am looking forward to doing great things and being a positive role model for the schools," Vellotti said Wednesday morning.

As of Tuesday night's tallies, Vellotti received 4,901 votes with Wilson trailing behind her with 4,122. Ronald Rose, who previously ran for the Place 4 seat in 2019, came in third place with 3,558 votes.

In addition to Vellotti, incumbent Chanel Stiggers was also successful in her bid to retail her seat in Place 6. Stiggers defeated André Luper with 7,169 votes versus his 5,964 votes.

Tuesday's school board elections came following a six-month delay following the cancellation of election in May due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Vellotti said the decision to run for the seat was an extension of her existing volunteer work within the district. For more than a decade, she has been an active parent with two children with in the district.

"I have been a Sherman parent for 12 years and going on many, many more years," she said, referring to her 11th-grade and fifth-grade children. "I have pretty much volunteered in every capacity that you can probably think of and I just felt like this was the next step and I am very excited."

Vellotti said she plans to be an advocate for teachers and educators when she is formally added to the school board. Vellotti referred to the district's educators as an asset and they should have someone representing their interests on the board.

"Our teachers are amazing and we have amazing teachers already," Vellotti said. "Sometimes they just need an advocate who can look out for their best interest. Our school board already does an amazing job at that and I just want to continue that."

With regard to the race, Vellotti said she ran primarily based on her own actions and activity within the district along with word of mouth.

"I am not a politician, so the route that I took was just being involved," she said. "Like I said, I am very much a volunteer within the school district. I think volunteering is the way to make a difference with our kids, with our schools and with our teachers."

Cementing her reputation as an active parent, Vellotti said she skipped any formal gatherings or watch parties  Tuesday night and instead spent the evening watching the Piner Middle School football game.

"We were there cheering them on and then came home to watch the news," she said.

With regard to Wilson, Vellotti said he has been a positive voice on the board for years and she looks forward to using his experience within the board.

"I think he did great things while he was on the board," she said. "As I said earlier, I am not a politician, so I didn't go into this looking at it like most people do. This was just my next step in my volunteering and I am really excited to be active with Sherman ISD in a new capacity."

For his part, Wilson acknowledged that Tuesday's results were not the ones he hoped for. However, he said he plans to take the change in stride. 

Wilson said he had many accomplishments over the past six and a half years on the board. Prior to Tuesday's vote, Wilson was the second longest serving member of the current board, only behind  Board Chair Tim Millerick.

"It wasn't the outcome I was hoping for, but in looking back and the six-and-a-half years I've been on the school board, we've done some great things," Wilson said. "We had to make some tough decisions to get where we are at today, but they were decisions that had to be made to get the district on a path that this community is proud of."

The difficult decisions Wilson referred to included two bond propositions that ultimately set the stage for the construction of the new Sherman High School, and hiring David Hicks as the new and current SISD superintendent.

"I am encouraged by what the future holds and the trajectory that the district is on is a positive one," he said.

Wilson said he has reached out to Vellotti and offered his congratulations on her new position with the school board. Along with that, he offered any assistance he could give.

"I didn't know Miss Vellotti going into this election, but I did hear that she has a service heart for this community and district and I offered assitance with anything she may have going into the board. I would be happy to help and I am here if she needs any assistance. She can reach out to me."

Wilson said he plans to spend the coming days letting the dust settle before he makes plans for the future. Wilson did not rule out a return bid for the board in May. As the board seats are all at large, Wilson could potentially run again if a seat were to open up.

For her part, Stiggers thanked the people who voted and helped her win her bid for reelection.

"I am truly humbled by everyone's continuous support and vote during this election season," she said in a Facebook post. "As always, I'm ready to continue working on behalf of the staff and students of Sherman ISD. Thank you all for believing in me and voting for experienced leadership."