WINCHESTER — Two of the four contested Frederick County School Board races had close results.

In the Back Creek District race, Brandon Monk defeated Jimmy Smith, 1,910 votes to 1,818, a 92-vote difference.

In the Gainesboro District race, incumbent Michael Lake received 2,097 votes to Susan Shick’s 1,969, a 128-vote difference.

For the at-large seat, Brian Hester had a decisive win over David Stegmaier, 12,426 votes to 9,341.

In the Opequon District race, Bradley Comstock bested Bryan Nuri, 2,328 votes to 1,589.

Lake, the only incumbent School Board member seeking re-election, won his third four-year term. This was his first contested race, and he said it was much closer than he thought it would be.

Moving forward, Lake wants to address school overcrowding and teacher shortages. He also plans to continue supporting the school division’s strategic plan, Gifted Independent Study showcases and Career and Technical Education accomplishments.

Although board seats are nonpartisan, Shick campaigned in the Gainesboro District as a conservative candidate.

“We should be able to know when we’re voting for School Board if the person is conservative or liberal,” she said, adding that she thinks there’s a need for conservative voices on the School Board.

This was Shick’s first run for political office. She said she will consider running for School Board again or possibly the Board of Supervisors.

Back Creek winner Monk, who is joining the School Board for the first time, said he plans to focus on maintaining “fiscal responsibility,” particularly related to school construction projects.

His opponent, Smith, did not return a request for comment Wednesday.

Following his at-large win, Hester said he felt good about the race and that he’s excited to prioritize the unique learning needs of students. He also wants to focus on special education.

Stegmaier, Hester’s opponent, said in a statement that the School Board is often a “rubber stamp” for politicians in Washington, D.C., and the state legislature in Richmond.

“More than being sad about my own loss, I am sad that this election, generally, indicates the erosion of our valley values — faith, family and freedom,” Stegmaier said.

Opequon winner Comstock was not available for comment on Wednesday. His opponent, Nuri, said he’s not giving up on running for local office, adding that he may consider running for the Board of Supervisors in the future.

Nuri hopes the school division will be able to tackle projects it “desperately” needs, such as adding more buses and building a fourth high school. The longer the supervisors wait to fund those needs, the more expensive they will be, he said.

— Contact Anna Merod at

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