Callen, Pigott elected to SL school board

Krystle Wagner • Nov 9, 2018 at 7:00 AM

SPRING LAKE — Two new faces are coming to the Spring Lake school board.

Bruce Callen and Katie Pigott will each serve six-year terms on the Spring Lake Public Schools Board of Education.

According to unofficial results from Tuesday’s election, Callen received 469 votes and Pigott received 437. Matt Isard was third with 366 votes.

All three were write-in candidates.

The county’s Board of Canvassers spent several hours Wednesday and Thursday looking through ballots and determining the number of votes each candidate received. The unofficial results were released Thursday morning.

The process for write-in candidate votes is different because of new election equipment, County Elections Coordinator Steve Daitch said.

Election workers print off a tape that has all written images. They use that information to write down the name variations that were submitted and record them into poll books. They also tally the number of votes each name variation receives.

With the new equipment, the Board of Canvassers is tasked with determining if each name variation is accurate. For the image of each name, they go into the system and assign the write-in vote.

It’s up to the Board of Canvassers to assign the votes because the county doesn’t have that authority, Daitch said.

Since part of the system is still new, Daitch said they’re still working through the best way to adjudicate those votes.

Callen thanked voters for their support, and said he’s honored to be selected to serve on the board.

“My goal is to advocate for all students and help continue to build on Spring Lake Public Schools’ level of excellence,” he said.

Pigott said the support she received warmed her heart.

“I appreciate the people in the community who made me feel like it was a good choice for me, a good fit for me, and encouraged and helped me get there,” she said.

Pigott said she’s looking forward to advocating for students at a new level, meeting fellow board members and getting to work.

Callen, who owns and operates Callen Engineering, said he ran for election to be an advocate for the public school system and for students on the intellectual and behavioral spectrums. The U.S. Navy veteran said he ran for election because he’s a Lakers fan, and he wants to keep the district providing great education and opportunities.

Callen, a 12-year resident of Spring Lake, has participated in his sons’ school activities, volunteered as an assistant coach, supported and attended band and sporting events, and has been an IEP (individualized education program) advocate. Since 2015, he has been a Spring Lake Band Backer and has served as the treasurer for the past two years.

A Junior Achievement volunteer and local Chamber of Commerce member, Callen is a previous member of the Grand Haven Environment and Natural Resources Committee. He is also the president of the Crockery Lake Association.

“Before I’d try to enact change in any direction, I would want to learn all facets of our school district and its interactions with the State of Michigan,” Callen said in a candidates’ questionnaire for the Tribune. “As a community member, not currently on that side of public school management, I would do my best to be knowledgeable on as many subjects affecting schools as possible.”

Pigott, an educator, said she ran for election to the school board because she knows how challenging budget choices can be, and she cares about priorities and believes “an educator voice can add tremendous value to the conversation.” Serving on the school board will also give her an opportunity to advocate for students on a different level, she said.

Pigott has been involved in the Spring Lake school district since her family relocated to Michigan 11 years ago. She has two children in the Spring Lake schools, and said her involvement in the district has been volunteering in classrooms and helping with fundraisers and field trips. She has coached TCYSO, Special Olympics and at the high school level.

In the candidates’ questionnaire, Pigott said that if elected she would “keep abreast of best practices in education” and work to ensure the district’s policies align with research.

“I will strive to effectively implement policies that promote equity and benefit all students,” she said. “I will give voice to celebration of diversity, proactively addressing related issues. I will advocate for more variety in academic options that keep our students competitive and engaged, the arts and movement in our students’ daily lives.”

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