Maia Pearson and Christina Gomez Schmidt will move on to the April general election for Madison School Board Seat 6 after receiving the most votes among the three candidates in Tuesday's primary election.
Karen Ball, with 10,380 votes to Pearson's 18,520 and Gomez Schmidt's approximately 14,105 — with 100% of precincts reporting on the Dane County Clerk's website — will not advance to the general election.
The three were competing to take over the seat being vacated by Kate Toews, who chose not to run for re-election.
It will be one of three School Board seats on the ballot, with a Seat 7 race between incumbent Nicki Vander Meulen and challenger Wayne Strong and a Seat 2 election that includes only incumbent Savion Castro running for a one-year term.
Pearson has three children, all of whom attend Lincoln Elementary School. She is a revenue agent with the state Department of Revenue, and has spoken throughout the campaign about her family's three generations in Madison watching the persistent disparities between white and black residents.
She is endorsed by three current board members: Castro, Ali Muldrow and Ananda Mirilli.
Pearson said she was "so grateful" for the support from "the community who raised me and supported me."
"I am extremely grateful for all of the support that I received tonight, to see that many people really believe in me but also believe that we definitely need some change," Pearson said. "It’s surreal."
She said she’s "really committed to prioritizing our teachers, our students, our community-at-large for stronger Madison schools."
"I think the only way we can do that is together," she said.
Pearson credited her time spent knocking on doors and talking to voters for her victory, and said it’s something she’ll continue to do leading up to the April 7 election.
"People really appreciated that I took the time out to really come to their door and talk to them, even if they couldn’t talk very long, just to be able to have a quick question,” she said. “I think what really resonated with a lot of people and what I’ve heard is that my message is based off of my lived experience."
Gomez Schmidt has two school-age children, one at Memorial High School and another at EAGLE School in Fitchburg, with another that recently graduated from Memorial. She works as the director of enrichment for Galin Education, a test prep and college admissions tutoring service, and has been a vocal advocate for improving the district's advanced learning program.
Her campaign has focused on the importance of the district's upcoming K-5 literacy curriculum selection and improving transparency. She received an endorsement from Toews.
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