Recount underway for tight WSESD board race

Two votes separate Leavy and Savage for three-year Brattleboro seat

After a very close March 5 race for the two three-year school director seats for Brattleboro representative, a recount has been initiated for votes cast for those two seats.

The three candidates, and the number of votes each candidate has unofficially received from the four member towns of the Windham Southeast School District - Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford, and Putney - are Tim Maciel, with 1,677 votes; Colleen Savage, 1,661 votes; and Rich Leavy, 1,659 votes.

Leavy confirmed he submitted a request for a recount on March 8.

Town clerks and boards of civil authority in the four member towns will convene to re-count votes as follows:

• Brattleboro Town Clerk's office, March 13, at 11 a.m.

• Guilford Town Clerk's 0ffice, March 13 at 11 a.m.

• Putney Town Clerk's office, March 13 at 2 p.m.

• Dummerston held its recount on March 12, but no results were available at press time.

Election recounts can be observed by candidates and the general public. Town Clerks will provide guidance as to where observers may be positioned. The results from each town will be sent to the WSESD clerk.

Unofficial results will be posted at

Other election results

Voters in the district have re-elected two incumbents and elected two newcomers.

In Guilford, newcomer Brian Remer took the open three-year term for director with 1,298 votes, unseating incumbent Kelly Young, who received 823 votes. Challenger Deborah Mcneil, who had dropped out of the race, received 589 votes.

"I'm very appreciative of the work that Kelly Young has done and want to thank her for her service for the community through the school board," Remer said upon hearing the news. "And I hope she continues to participate in community life and contribute her skills."

Remer thanked voters for their support and "expression of faith in me and what I can do for them," and said he hopes all voters will reach out with "questions, concerns, and ideas for improvement in our school system."

An educator and facilitator, Remer recently retired from his position as training and engagement specialist at the Center for Achievement in Public Service for the state. He was creative learning director for The Firefly Group, his consulting firm.

In Brattleboro, incumbent Matt Schibley, who was appointed to the board in October 2023, kept his one-year seat with 1,580 votes to challenger Lance Cutler's 1,184.

Schibley is executive director of the New England Adolescent Research Institute; a 12-month day school for learning-disabled, emotionally disturbed, neurologically challenged students, ages 7-22, in Easthampton, Massachusetts.

"I am honored to be elected to the WSESD school board," said Schibley. "I want to express gratitude to all who supported me; in particular, my wife, Jill, and my two sons, Jack and Gavin. Thank you. I also want to acknowledge my opponent, Lance Cutler, for his participation in the race. I look forward to working collaboratively with the administration and my fellow board members to serve our district's educational needs effectively in the coming year."

Although awaiting the recount, Brattleboro incumbent Tim Maciel has so far retained his seat for another three years.

Speaking with The Commons, Maciel thanked Savage and Leavy for running and congratulated Schibley, Remer, and Savage on their wins.

Maciel has served on the WSESD board four years. He is a higher education consultant for his company, Educational Solutions of New England, focusing on campuses that want to increase their international populations.

"For now, I'll say that it's been an honor to have served with someone like Kelly Young, who has served the WSESD with heart, passion, and integrity for over six years," Maciel said. "I'm very grateful to those voters who have placed their trust in me to continue serving and, if my win holds up, I will continue doing all I can for the students in our district.

"I also want to thank those kind folks who took the time to support my candidacy with letters of support. This is the first time I've had to campaign - I was unopposed in past elections - and it has just reinforced my belief that the direction of the board is strengthened when we hear directly from our constituents. I've learned a lot.

"So, to all those individuals who paused outside the Co-op, or who answered my knock on their door to speak with me about the welfare and education of the children in our district - and to the kind lady who offered me her umbrella at the polling station - thank you and please continue to share your viewpoints with me and other board members.

"Your voice greatly mattered in this election and your voices continue to matter as we work to improve education for all students in the WSESD. It's time now for a hot toddy toast to our newly seated board."

Newcomer Savage is a former marketing executive for a nonprofit company and has a child who attends Green Street School, where she serves on the PTO.

"I would like to thank everyone who voted in this and all of our local and national elections," Savage said.

"And I would like to thank all the folks who have been working so hard on this recount," she added, acknowledging "the countless hours they have spent working to preserve our democratic system."

"I am confident in those that are a part of the recount process and will be waiting with bated breath to see the results," she said. "No matter the end result, I am proud to be a part of this election and will do my best to serve our phenomenal community as best as I can."

No seats were open for election in Dummerston.

In Putney, incumbent Anne Beekman ran unopposed for a three-year seat and received 2,511 votes to keep it.

This News item by Virginia Ray was written for The Commons.

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