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Who will fill four open seats on the Champaign Unit 4 school board? The unofficial results are in.

From left: candidates Amy Armstrong, Jamar Brown, Jeff Brownfield, Betsy Holder, Mark Holm, Mark Thies, AJ Zwettler.

CHAMPAIGN — Four seats on the Champaign Unit 4 Board of Education were up for grabs during Tuesday’s election.

While last-minute mail-in ballots could change the totals, Betsy Holder, Amy Armstrong, Jamar Brown and Mark Thies have won the largest share of votes.

Armstrong is the only incumbent. While she hasn’t interacted much with Thies yet, she is encouraged by Brown’s previous term on the board and Holder’s deep research on the campaign trail.

“I’m excited that we have folks that have put in the work, so we can continue with our strategic plan and needs assessment,” Armstrong said.

Both documents address racial inequity within the district.

Find our past reporting on how candidates responded to questions about Black history and Black lives matter here. 

The new members will join the board after all votes are counted. Their first meeting together will likely be in May.

Black representation increases on school board

According to the unofficial election results, the Champaign Unit 4 school board will have three Black representatives for the first time in recent memory.

Jamar Brown was the only Black candidate. He’s now in line to join two other Black Unit 4 board members — Gianina Baker and Bruce Brown — after Tuesday’s election.

“Visually it will look different but we’re different people, so the votes may not all be the same,” Brown said.

The majority of students in Unit 4 are Black, Hispanic, Asian or multiracial. Representation on the school board, though, has been mostly white.

Emily Hays is a reporter for Illinois Public Media. Follow her on Twitter @amihatt.

Picture of Emily Hays

Emily Hays

Emily Hays started at WILL in October 2021 after three-plus years in local newsrooms in Virginia and Connecticut. She has won state awards for her housing coverage at Charlottesville Tomorrow and her education reporting at the New Haven Independent. Emily graduated from Yale University where she majored in History and South Asian Studies.

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