Jan Klaehn and Rene Johnson toppled incumbents Curtis Nyhus and Eric Busse to win seats on the Evansville School Board.

Klaehn and Johnson on Tuesday night said they believed the district should work now to ride a wave of community support that led to voter approval of a multi-million dollar facilities referendum last fall.

The district is coming off the passage in November of a referendum to build a new middle school and improve its other schools. There’s little direct decision-making on the referendum that remains for the board, except for its role in approving final plans and contracts for the projects.

Johnson said she believes the board needs to “stay on track with what was voted on within the referendum.”

Klaehn said she thinks the district needs to start “right now” strengthening its rapport with teachers.

“I look forward to learning,” Klaehn said. “I want to learn from fellow board members, administrators, teachers, constituents of the district, whoever I can learn from. I really, truly believe that we need to be listening to all voices in decision-making going forward.”

Johnson, a local banker, and Klaehn, a local entrepreneur who once worked to plan developments and projects in developing countries, won by comfortable margins over Busse, an incumbent and nine-year board member, and Nyhus, an appointee to the board last spring, according to unofficial Rock, Green and Dane county voting results.

Johnson said she was impressed by what she said was a big voter turnout for the school board election. She said the number of voters and the outcome itself—election of two newcomers over two incumbents—shows district residents are attuned to the district’s future.

“I think people are really interested in the school board and what’s going on in our schools right now. I think that’s what it (the election outcome) says,” Johnson said.

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