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Roche, Cleveland retain BOE seats
Light tops McCone, advances to Nov. 4 election
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Forsyth County News

Nancy Roche and Tom Cleveland aren't going anywhere.

Roche, incumbent chairwoman of the Forsyth County Board of Education, claimed 7,115 votes, or 60 percent, in Tuesday's primary, besting challenger Tim Plotner, who drew 4,722 votes, or 40 percent.

Cleveland, the board's incumbent vice chairman, topped his District 3 opponent Ed Castle by a 60 percent to 40 percent margin, or 7,146 votes to 4,788.

Since neither Republican faces opposition from a Democrat in November, they will retain their seats on the board.

In Tuesday's third school board race, Republican Darla Sexton Light prevailed with 7,422 votes, or 66 percent, over Fletcher McCone, who received 3,883 votes, or 34 percent.

She advances to face Democrat Sheila Elliott in the Nov. 4 general election for the right to fill the District 4 seat being vacated by incumbent Ronnie Pinson.

With many parents upset about redistricting, the "1-2-3" standards-based grading system and school start times, Roche and Cleveland weren't certain they'd keep their seats.

"I'm excited, obviously," Roche said Tuesday night as she watched returns come in, surrounded by her family.

"But it's been a rough last few months. You just never know," she said. "You really don't."

Cleveland gathered with other candidates and supporters for an election party at the Foster House, in downtown Cumming.

While some candidates huddled around a giant monitor displaying the results by district, cheering or biting their fingernails, Cleveland kept to the edge of the crowd, bottled water in hand.

"I'm concerned about politics sometimes," he said. "But the results show politics can't win. It takes more than politics."

Now that the elections are finished, at least for him, Cleveland wants to get back to business.

"I think the community votes their mind, and I hear that, and I plan to seek that better when I get back to work," Cleveland said. "I always get something out of it in terms of what the public is saying in the elections."
Roche said she feels much the same way.

"I'm just excited for Forsyth County, not just for myself," she said. "... There's just no end to what we can achieve in Forsyth County. I really believe that."

For her part, Light said she is ready for the next campaign.

"I'm looking forward to winning in November and joining the board."

McCone and the other challengers were gracious in defeat.

"The voters have spoken, what can I say," McCone said. "I got to meet some real nice folks ... I don't plan on losing contact with them."

Castle said he "ran a good race. That's it."

Plotner vowed to keep learning about the school system, adding that he's "more passionate" now than he was before the election.

"You probably haven't seen the last of me in the school system," he said.