Almost a full day after the polls closed, the race for seats on the Montgomery County Board of Education isn’t over. While all 258 Election Day precincts have reported, the Montgomery County Board of Elections still has to process provisional ballots and some mail-in ballots. Because of this, Board of Elections results are still considered unofficial.
While most districts have a likely winner, the District 5 race remains particularly tight, and the result may depend on the processing of provisional ballots.
Here’s where the races stand almost a full day after Election Day:
Yang wins District 3 seat after Joftus concedes
Julie Yang has secured the District 3 seat on the Board of Education after opponent Scott Joftus conceded Wednesday afternoon.
Yang had garnered about 66% of the vote compared to about 33% for opponent and current board member Scott Joftus.
“While the results were not what I hoped for, I am incredibly optimistic about the future of MCPS. I just called Julie Yang, my opponent in the election, to congratulate her on an incredible campaign. The Board plays a really important role for the district and the county, and I believe that it is in good hands. I am also so proud of and excited by the leadership of Superintendent McKnight and her outstanding leadership team, which are going to do great things for the children and families of Montgomery County,” Joftus wrote in an email to supporters.
Joftus was appointed to the board in December 2021 following the unexpected passing of longtime board member Pat O’Neill of Bethesda in September 2021.
Yang has not publicly declared victory. She made a Facebook post thanking supporters and election volunteers Wednesday afternoon, and stating “there are still many votes to count, the early numbers look strong.”
Yang, 52, is a former data analyst and college and career counselor for Montgomery County Public Schools. She also spent seven years as a classroom teacher. She is the mother of two MCPS graduates and lives in Potomac.
Yang has been vocal about her goals to prioritize mental health services for students and to revamp community engagement in the school system. She is also a strong supporter of ensuring equity within the school system and protections for students of color and LGBTQ students.
Rivera-Oven leading District 1 race
Grace Rivera-Oven remains likely to win the District 1 seat, according to unofficial election results. Rivera-Oven has garnered about 57% of the vote compared to about 42% for opponent Esther Wells.
Rivera-Oven declared victory at a watch party at South House Garden in Gaithersburg on Tuesday night.
“I feel like [my younger self] the 9-year-old who came from Bolivia to be embraced by her new country,” Rivera-Oven told Bethesda Beat. “It feels wonderful to be an example to the young people that anything is possible. I am really, really glad that I’m able to represent and work for 161,000 students and 24,000 workers in MCPS. I’m ready to do the work.”
Wells has not publicly conceded.
A community activist, Rivera-Oven is 53 and lives in Germantown. Her three children are MCPS graduates.
If elected, Rivera-Oven will fill the seat that will be vacated by longtime school board member Judy Docca after she decided not to run for re-election. Docca, 82, was first elected to the school board in 2006, and was re-elected three times. She previously worked for MCPS for 38 years.
Rivera-Oven was vocal on the campaign trail about her passion to ensure students have equitable access to services related to mental health and food insecurity. She has also said she wants to focus on improving treatment of teachers and other faculty.
Silvestre likely to win at-large race
Incumbent Karla Silvestre seems poised to win the at-large race, according to unofficial election results. Silvestre has garnered over 65% of the vote compared to about 33% for opponent Mike Erickson.
Silvestre has not publicly declared victory and Erickson has not publicly conceded.
Silvestre is 50 and lives in Silver Spring. She has one daughter who is a MCPS high school sophomore and another who is a graduate of the school system. This will be her second term. She first joined the board in 2018.
Silvestre has stated her main priority, if re-elected, is to address the staffing shortages within the school system and work to both attract and retain staff. She wants to strengthen the Grow Your Own program she spearheaded, which encourages and supports current MCPS students to come back to the system to work as teachers.
Challenger Erickson ran a quiet campaign with next to no campaigning or media interviews, with the exception of one interview with Bethesda Beat last month.
District 5 race still too close to call
Incumbent and current board president Brenda Wolff is leading challenger Valerie Coll by a slim margin. With 258 Election Day precincts reporting and provisional and some mail-in ballots yet to be counted, Wolff has 1,640 votes and 50.01% of the vote.
Neither Wolff nor Coll have publicly declared victory or conceded.
Wolff, who has served on the board since 2018, is seeking re-election for a second term. She is currently serving her second one-year term as president of the school board. Wolff, 69, lives in Silver Spring.
Coll, 62, was an elementary school teacher in MCPS for 32 years. She lives in Silver Spring.
In the July primary, Wolff secured only 377 more votes than runner-up Valerie Coll. Wolff took 39.53% of the vote, leading Coll by a very slim margin. Coll took 39.25% of the vote.
Apple Ballot-endorsed candidates successful
Candidates endorsed by the Montgomery County Education Association proved successful in Tuesday’s election, according to unofficial results.
MCEA, the union for MCPS teachers, votes to endorse Board of Education candidates to include on its Apple Ballot, a sample ballot distributed online and at polling places.
MCEA endorsed Yang, who has won, and Rivera-Oven, who is leading her race.
MCEA also endorsed Coll, who is performing highly in the tight District 5 race, although she trails Wolff slightly. MCEA did not endorse a candidate in the at-large race.
MCEA endorsed Democrat Wes Moore, who was elected as Maryland’s next governor Tuesday. All MCEA-endorsed County Council candidates are also poised to win their seats.
MCEA did not respond to a request for comment by press time.