Former Rio Rancho High School principal Gary Tripp defeated Patrick Monroe Brenner on Tuesday to win a seat on the Rio Rancho Public Schools Board of Education.
Tripp had 54% of the vote, leading Brenner 1,012-847, according to unofficial results published by the Secretary of State’s Office.
Tripp won the hotly contested race to earn the District 1 spot held for the past four years by Wynne Coleman, who decided not to run for reelection after her four-year term expired.
It wasn’t the kind of race Tripp envisioned.
“I keep thinking that things were hurtful and our country’s so polarized,” he said. “We live in a pretty great community; we have a good school district. We need to be above that. I modeled that and we will continue to model that.
“I had some really good Republican support and I think what we need to do is go back to being a little bit kinder to each other,” Tripp added. “Yes, we have differences, but we can talk about it.”
What made the difference at the ballot box?
“I feel really good that the voters in District 1 believe in me – and I’m going to work as hard as I possibly can to support the students and staff of Rio Rancho Public Schools,” Tripp said. “No agenda – just do our best to keep this district very strong. As far as what I’m going to work on, (I want to) keep this school district very strong and help it grow, move forward to even, hopefully, higher achievements.”
In District 3, incumbent Jeffery Morgan ran unopposed.
In District 5, Jessica Tyler also ran unopposed, with former two-term board member Catherine Cullen also opting not to run for a third term. Tyler is the wife of Rio Rancho City Councilor Bob Tyler.