Nelson tops Weckerly, keeps spot on D-427 board

April 3, 2019

SYCAMORE — In the only contested election on the ballot in Sycamore, incumbent Steve Nelson held onto his school board seat in a tight race against challenger Ryan Weckerly.

As Sycamore schools face the imminent departure of Superintendent Kathy Countryman, Nelson said his time on the board may have been the deciding factor in the race.

“I think my experience with the board is important during this phase of transition,” he said Tuesday. “We actually started talking about Kathy’s departure over a year ago when we were made aware of her timeframe.”

Incumbent board members Kris Wrenn and Julenne Davey also were on the ballot, however, township residency restrictions made the contest a two-way race between Nelson and Weckerly, who are both residents of Sycamore Township.

Nelson, a 12-year veteran of the school board, received 547 votes to 471 for Weckerly, according to unofficial totals. He said he expects planning for Countryman’s exit, set for the end of the 2019-20 school year, to step up over the coming weeks.

“In the very near future, in the next two or three board meetings, we have to get down into the nitty-gritty of this,” he said. “We want to make sure there is someone in place to make for a smooth transition.”

Nelson, a school architect by trade first elected to the board in 2007, said Tuesday that he was somewhat surprised to have a challenger for his seat, as Weckerly filed to run in Tuesday’s consolidated election just before the deadline.

“He came in at the last minute,” said Nelson. “I think it was just a few hours before the filing deadline.”

Weckerly, president and CEO of Sycamore’s Morning Star Media, had run his campaign for the Sycamore Township seat by focusing on improving technology in the classroom. 

Nelson says Weckerly’s passion and knowledge in that regard is something that could benefit the school district should he run again.

“I hope he comes back in two years,” he said. 

Other races

In the remaining races on the Sycamore ballot, four aldermen and three park district seats went unopposed.

Josh Huseman (Ward 1), Chuck Stowe (Ward 2), Nancy Copple (Ward 3) and Rick “Spider” Kramer (Ward 4) all retain their seats on the city council.

And the park district saw Ben Doty win his board seat with Daryl Graves and Bill Kroeger retaining their spots.