Crowded field seeks school board seats

Sunday Times Newspapers

TRENTON — At least one newcomer will join the Trenton Public Schools Board of Education next month, with five candidates seeking three seats on the panel.

Three six-year terms are set to expire, including that held by Kellee Howey, who in September was appointed to complete the term held by Dennis Bearden, who resigned from the panel earlier this year.

Bearden’s was one of three seats expiring in December — along with those held by incumbent Trustees Tom Kinney and David French — and Howey had been named to complete the term, City Clerk Trish Gearhart said.

That appointment, however, was made after candidate deadlines for filing nominating petitions, and Howey does not appear on the ballot.

Kinney has been on the board since 2010 as trustee, treasurer and secretary, and last year ran unsuccessfully for Trenton City Council. French was elected to the panel in 2012 and was a founding member of the Trenton Educational Foundation.

Kinney and French are joined on the ballot by two relative newcomers to elected politics and a veteran board member.

Rachel Helton is an attorney and preschool director with three children enrolled in Trenton schools.

Eric Vargo, a relatively recent Trenton resident, has worked for Pepsi for 18 years and has three children enrolled in Trenton schools. Vargo ran unsuccessfully for city council in 2013.

Bruce Wyke is a former school board president who was unseated during the 2010 election.

(James Mitchell can be reached at