ELECTION: Newcomer Eilert garners top votes, two incumbents remain in hotly-contested school board race

Published on November 3, 2021.

BY JOE WESSELS

LOVELAND, Ohio — A pastor at one of Loveland’s largest churches will take a seat on the Loveland school board along with two incumbents.

Jonathan Eilert, lead pastor at the approximately 1,200-member Prince of Peace Lutheran Church at W. Loveland Avenue and S. Lebanon Road, finished atop the eight-person field race. He garnered 2,851 votes in unofficial tallies combined from the three county election boards. Incumbents Eric Schwetschenau and Eileen Washburn both will return to the Loveland City Schools school board with 2,642 and 2,390 votes, respectively.

Washburn celebrates at Ramsey's Trailside
Joe Wessels | Loveland Local News Eileen Washburn celebrates her win for another term on Loveland City School District’s school board with supporters at Ramsey’s Trailside in downtown Loveland.

Eight people ran for the Loveland school board in a year where school boards across the United States saw a renewed interest, brought on mostly from hot social issues and the nation’s schools response to the global coronavirus pandemic, including mask mandates and remote learning – which some felt unnecessary.

A Loveland slate of candidates who ran in opposition to most of the schools’ reactions to the pandemic – Elizabeth Mason, Al Juram and Colette Boyko – did not get elected. Juram finished fourth with 2,162 votes, Elizabeth Mason finished fifth with 2,101 votes and Boyko finished sixth with 2,081 votes. Elliot Grossman, a communications consultant and former newspaper editor, and Anna Bunker, founder of a group that opposed two recent school levies, rounded out the field, with 1,722 and 1,101 votes, respectively.

“Really the hard work is just beginning,” Washburn said from her election celebration, which had migrated to Cindy’s Friendly Tavern late in the evening from Ramsey’s Trailside, both in downtown Loveland. “From communication and engagement and doing what’s best for our students and staff.”

Shot of Kevin Dougherty, Loveland school board member
Joe Wessels | Loveland Local News Kevin Dougherty ran unopposed and will serve two more years in the seat of former school board member Art Jarvis.

Washburn ran unopposed last time in 2017 – her first time running for public office. She said this year’s campaign was completely different, including having a small, but tight-knit group of dedicated volunteers to help her campaign. Last time she did it pretty much on her own.

“I could not have done it without the people here tonight,” she said.

Washburn said she hopes those who ran but did not win will continue to be involved in the school district.

“Even though they did not win, I hope they continue to be engaged and they are a part of the school district.”

Kevin Doughtery, who was appointed to the school board in May 2020 after longtime school board member Art Jarvis resigned, ran unopposed in a separate race to fill out Jarvis’ term which expires in 2023. The former Kroger Co. executive has already said he does not plan to seek another term.

All school board members will be sworn-in in January.

About Joe Wessels 75 Articles
Long-time and award-winning Cincinnati-area journalist, radio show host, podcast producer and photographer Joe Wessels is the founder and publisher (and kinda the do-everything guy) of Loveland Local News. Previously, Wessels was the Cincinnati City Hall and Hamilton County reporter for The Cincinnati Post and a weekly columnist for Cincinnati CityBeat where he regularly broke news. Wessels moved to Loveland in 2014 and quickly realized Loveland would be a great place to fulfill his dream of creating his own online news and information publication.