By Savannah Jones

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Shawn Smith and Christina Fattore Morgan won the election for the Monongalia County Board of Education (BOE), unseating current president and longtime incumbent Ron Lytle.

Both candidates are first time electees to the BOE and have children in the Monongalia County school system.

Smith, an industrial engineer, earned 42% of the vote, leading the race with a total of 9,535 votes. He said the win was fueled by his presence in the community throughout the campaign.

“We’ve gone everywhere and people joke about it because you can see us and find us, anywhere and everywhere,” he said.

Upon officially joining the BOE, Smith plans to place student needs first, alleviate staffing shortages for teachers and bus drivers and give parents in the community a voice.

Voters widely turned down the $142.6 million school bond which served to fund the Renaissance Academy, the first state-of-the-art science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and vocational-focused high school in the state.

Smith said although the bond did fail there are still opportunities to advance education in the county.

“A lot of the people in the community want to give, they want to give to something that they feel comfortable with and that’s what we got to figure out,” he said.

Fattore Morgan, WVU Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics, earned 6,827 votes, beating out Lytle by nearly 1,000 votes.

The first-time candidate said the success was a surprise to her, but attributed the win to those who worked on her campaign.

“Our campaign has such hardworking volunteers and supporters that with a little bit of elbow grease, and a lot of grassroots, we can get the job done,” she said.

Fattore Morgan said her lack of support for the Renaissance Academy and questions about the plan led her to victory.

“Looking at the results from the school bond, I really think that’s what brought me over the finish line,” she said. “We had a lot of questions and those questions weren’t being answered.”

Lytle, who has served on the Board since 2012, came in third with 5,887 votes.