Newcomer joins Trenton board; 1 seat still vacant

Sunday Times Newspapers

TRENTON — A new face with a familiar name joined the Trenton Public Schools Board of Education Tuesday with the election of Sean Gearhart — son of City Clerk Trish Gearhart — leading the balloting with 4,304 votes (35 percent of ballots cast).

Three candidates sought two expiring seats on the panel. Board trustees serve six-year terms.

Longtime Trustee Wayne G. Sieloff was elected to another term in office with 4,012 votes (32.7 percent). Challenger David M. French fell in third with 3,866 votes (31.5 percent). Trustee Carol Oakley did not seek re-election after nearly 30 years of board service.

French, who recently resigned as president of the Trenton Educational Foundation, may still serve on the board. Given the close contest, French will likely be among the candidates to replace Marie Conflitti, who last month resigned due to relocation outside of the school district.

Board President Mike Hawkins said that the panel is expected to fill Conflitt’s seat at tomorrow’s meeting. Candidates had until Friday to submit applications. The board is required to replace Conflitti by the end of the month.

Voters in one Trenton precinct cast ballots for the Riverview School District Board of Education. Two four-year terms were sought by four candidates. Trenton votes favored challengers Amy Wright (105 votes) and Jim Makowski (65), followed by Michael Pelky (52) and incumbent James Kiturkes (41). District-wide choices seated Wright (3,206 votes, 40 percent of the ballots) and Pelkey (1,872, 23.6 percent). Incumbent president John Price did not seek re-election.

Trenton voters reflected national balloting and gave a narrow edge to President Barack Obama (5,323 votes) against Gov. Mitt Romney (4,905). Democratic leanings were more prominent in the re-election of U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (5,932 votes) against challenger Pete Hoekstra (3,851). U.S. Rep. John Dingell’s 29th term in Congress was supported with 5,342 votes against 4,497 for Republican challenger Cynthia Kallgren.

(James Mitchell can be reached at