CEDAR LAKE | Voters said farewell to one incumbent and re-elected another in the Hanover School Board of Trustees race.
According to unofficial vote tallies, at-large Trustee Mary Joan Dickson defeated newcomer John Kowalczyk Jr. Mary Pat Burkett took District 2, beating five-term incumbent Pat Kocot.
Stephen Styx and Dennis Wilkening vied for District 1, with Wilkening emerging the victor.
“I’m happy voters put me in the position to represent them,” said Dickson, who will serve her second term on the board. “It’s about the kids; that’s where my heart is.”
Financial stability and managing growth will be top priorities over the next four years, she said.
After 20 years on the school board, “it’s been a part of my life for a while,” Kocot said. Kocot was first elected in 1984, served 15 years, and then after a break of eight years won re-election in 2008.
“The school district was kind of new (when I was first elected) and we worked to help put it into a well-respected position."
Lincoln Elementary School was established during Kocot’s first term on the board and Hanover Middle School was opened this past year.
Wilkening said he planned to get himself ready for his new role immediately and would like to see changes as the new school board begins its term.
“I’d like to see the DARE program back in the schools (with a Cedar Lake officer), the county is handling it now,” he said.
Wilkening is a big supporter of Wildcats football at Hanover and hopes to see the program continue to grow. “(Football) pays for itself,” he said.
He would also like to see a change in the way the school board accommodates public comment during its meetings.