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Nolan topples incumbent Laubach in school board election

Nolan topples incumbent Laubach in school board election


The Rapid City School district has a new board member.

Suzan Nolan, a retired school teacher, defeated three other candidates Thursday night to take one of three seats up for election this year.

Nolan won 935 votes, which is 49 percent of the votes in Area 1. Runner-up Heather Gosch received 684 votes, or 36 percent. Incumbent Arnie Laubach captured 162 votes, or 8 percent and Candice Estes garnered 138 votes, or 7 percent.

"It's exciting," Nolan said Thursday night. "So many people helped me and I got so much support from people in the community."

Nolan did a door-to-door campaign and visited more than 600 homes in Area 1, which might have helped her, she said.

"I'm really grateful to be able to serve the community and parents and kids and teachers in this way," she said.

Sheryl Kirkeby, who currently serves as president of the board, was re-elected Thursday night by 821, or 57 percent of the voters. She defeated newcomer Curt Pochardt, who received 349 or 24 percent of the votes, and Adam Sanders, who received 274 votes, or 19 percent. Sanders publicly withdrew from the race two weeks ago, but state law mandated that his name remain on the ballot.

"I'm very honored and excited that the voters have supported me to represent the board for another term," Kirkeby said.

Few Rapid City School board elections are contested. Doug Kinniburgh was up for re-election in Area 7 this year and ran unopposed. Board member Bret Swanson earned a seat on the board last year, also unopposed.

Community leaders, including Democracy in Action members and former school board member Eric Abrahamson had encouraged more people to run for the board so voters have a choice.

Voter turnout for city and school board elections Thursday night was about 24 percent.

"I appreciate the fact that my opponents ran a clean race and were interested in serving," Kirkeby said. "We need the interested parties."

Kirkeby said she looks forward to the many projects the district has embarked on, including renovating and adding on to Central High School, a project some of the candidates opposed.

"I'm looking forward to continuing to be able to spend the budget as wisely as we can to support students and staff," she said. "I'll work hard."

Nolan, Kinniburgh and Kirkeby begin their three-year terms in July.

Contact Kayla Gahagan at 394-8410 or

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