Incumbent Nancy Drees and newcomers Jenny McKenna and Lori Trent secured leadership positions for four years after being elected Nov. 5 to Upper Arlington school board.

The three won the four-way race.

In addition to Drees' seat, which she retained, McKenna and Trent will replace board President Stacey Royer, a two-term board member who chose not to seek reelection, and Robin Comfort, who died July 8 from a recurrence of breast cancer. Margie Pizutti was appointed to Comfort's seat and did not seek reelection.

According to unofficial results from the Franklin County Board of Elections, Trent was the top vote-getter, with 5,898 votes (29%), followed by McKenna with 5,109 (25%) and Drees with 4,873 (24%).

Nic Fortkamp received 4,487 votes (22%).

The results are expected to be certified by the board of elections Nov. 26.

At the outset of the year, Trent and McKenna will take office, and Drees will be sworn in to her third term.

Trent said she was "incredibly excited and humbled" to be elected and sought to thank supporters and members of her campaign committee.

"I am excited for the future and what it holds for our students and our community," she said. "With our facilities plan well underway, I look forward to how we best use that opportunity to meet every student's needs and help them be the best they can be."

Trent said she hopes community members will remain engaged in district business and help board members identify priorities as they make decisions that impact school buildings, students and staff.

"Upper Arlington has always been a leader in education and sets the bar for others to follow," she said.

F or 2020, Trent said, she wants to "build a culture where everyone feels that they belong to our Upper Arlington community, recognizing we are multifaceted, but that there is a place for each and every one of us."

"I want us to be a community that people admire and want to emulate," she said, "whether it is embracing diversity, equity and inclusion, joining together to address substance abuse and bullying, or having those hard conversations with community members that have different viewpoints.

"As a community, we must recognize that UA is better because we not only say we practice kindness and acceptance, but we truly live it."

Additionally, Trent said, she wants to build upon programs that connect businesspeople, public officials and other professionals with students so that adults and students can learn from each other.

"Much of this work is already underway, but we need to be deliberate and focused on our journey with a sense of urgency as we work to keep pace with our every-changing, rapid-paced future," she said.

Following her first election to public office, McKenna thanked those who worked on her campaign and supported her at the polls.

"When I spoke with members of our community, prioritizing the social and emotional well-being of our students and teachers was the No. 1 topic we discussed, which was validating and enlightening," she said.

"I am eager and ready to get to work serving our schools, students, parents, teachers and administrators to the best of my ability."

McKenna said she hopes to help the board continue a standard of excellence she believes the previous board already has set.

She said her responsibility to students and teachers "is to make sure I do all I can to ensure that track record of excellence continues."

"Extraordinary and historic things are going to occur in our schools over the next four years," McKenna said. "One of my priorities will be to work diligently to make sure our community understands how and when important improvements, projects and changes are occurring.

"I want to be sure we engage members of our community to help us make smooth and seamless transitions as changes occur so they have a positive impact on our kids and teachers."

McKenna said she intends to help district leaders implement existing strategic policies.

"A large part of implementing the plan and engaging members of the community effectively will be to focus on the social and emotional well-being of our kids and teachers through all of this positive change and growth," she said. "When you hear (Superintendent) Paul Imhoff talk about our plans for the future, the kids are always at the center of it all.

"Focusing on their social and emotional well-being will be core to continuing our tradition of excellence in Upper Arlington."

As for Drees, she said, "thank you doesn't come close to expressing" her gratitude for being elected a third time.

"Being reelected meant a great deal to me," she said. "The board has accomplished some great things, but the job's not done for me.

"I'm honored to be able to serve our students and our community, continue our pursuit to be a national leader in education and build on student success. I'm committed to leading our schools to the next level of excellence."

Specifically, Drees said, she'll work to help McKenna and Trent get acclimated so they and the board can function their highest levels, and she's committed to communication with constituents and school officials.

"From the importance of our strategic plan to educating the new members on roles and responsibilities, my top priority is board-member orientation, board culture and open communication," she said. "Board service is a demanding volunteer job, and overall board effectiveness is directly connected to how intentional we are when we are joined together -- how we work as one.

"I want every board member to feel they are engaged, informed and ready to contribute from day one. I want to build a strong leadership team for the long run. They are our future leaders and building an effective board is a top priority for me."

nellis@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNate