Voters in Princeton have ousted two-term school board incumbent Michele Tuck Ponder on Tuesday, but incumbent Beth Behrend survived a challenge to remain on the school board another term.
Newcomers Eleanor Hubbard and Adam Bierman won a three-year term on the board. Newcomer Rene Obregon Jr. came in fourth place, while Tuck Ponder came in last place, according to unofficial votes. Some mail-in and provisional ballots could still change the vote tallies.
Hubbard was the top vote-getter, with 3,955 votes. Behrend received 3,221 votes, and Bierman received 3,181 votes winning in spite of an email smear campaign that tried to associate him with Republicans based on the alleged positioning of his lawn signs near Republican lawn signs. The campaign also claimed he was trying to defund public education. Bierman was a Democrat, ran an unsuccessful campaign for a seat on the Princeton Council as an independent in 2019, and is now a registered Democrat again.
Bierman ran for the school board unsuccessfully in 2020 and ran and then decided to drop out a second time in 2021.
The lifelong Princeton resident, whose father served on the school board many years ago, criticized the board’s handling of the departure of Princeton High Principal Frank Chmiel, as well as the leadership of Superintendent of Schools Carol Kelley, who has taken a paid leave of absence until she leaves the district next fall.
Voters approved the district’s $13 million bond referendum by a vote of 4,070 to 1,706.