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Tiffany Polifko, Erika Ogedegbe projected winners of Loudoun school board race

Election officers in Leesburg, Va., on Nov. 8. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
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Tiffany Polifko and Erika Ogedegbe have been projected winners of the race for two seats on the Loudoun County School Board representing the Broad Run and Leesburg districts, respectively. Their victories mean a more conservative member, Polifko, and a more progressive member, Ogedegbe, will join the nine-member body.

Polifko and Ogedegbe both led after election night last Tuesday. Although Ogedegbe’s victory was clear, Polifko’s race remained extremely close. For a time, she led her closest competitor, Nick Gothard, by only 135 votes as election officials worked several days tallying ballots.

Polifko put out a statement Monday night saying she had been confirmed the winner by 100 votes, and Gothard publicly conceded around the same time. Virginia elections officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday night.

“I unapologetically stand for parental rights and curriculum free of identity politics,” Polifko said in her statement. “Children are the most important stake holders in our school system and they will be my primary focus.”

One conservative, one left-leaning candidate leading for two seats on Loudoun school board

Gothard, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday night, posted a thank you message to his supporters on Twitter. “It has been my distinct honor to be your candidate in this race,” he wrote. “Though we came up short, I am so proud of all the work we have done.”

The race for two seats on the Loudoun board was unusually tense, tight and partisan this year. Each race had three candidates, with each member of the two trios publicly identifying as conservative, left-leaning or independent, either through interviews with news outlets or through endorsements received from the Loudoun County Republican or Democratic committees.

Polifko, a 40-year-old behavior analyst who provides treatment for children with autism, promised during the campaign to boost parental rights in education and eradicate sexually explicit texts from school libraries. Ogedegbe, a 52-year-old chief data architect at American University, campaigned for improved early literacy teaching and better staff recruitment and retention rates.

Ogedegbe said in a statement Monday that she feels “humbled and honored to have the opportunity to serve the community as the next Leesburg district representative.” She promised to be “a new and positive voice for our children.”

Loudoun has recently been in the national spotlight for fierce debates over how to teach race, racism, U.S. history, and gender and sexuality, as well as the school system’s handling of a pair of sexual assaults that took place last year. School officials transferred a teen who had committed a sexual assault at one school to a second campus, where the teen committed a second assault — spurring criticism from parents and from Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R).

More on local education

The latest: In Loudoun County, a conservative candidate and a left-leaning candidate were leading in the race for two seats on the school board. Meanwhile, a majority of incumbent school board members in Maryland’s metro area were leading in their reelection bids.

K-12 classrooms: The Montgomery County school system is revisiting safety training after a report of a student with a gun led to a campus lockdown. New safety protocols also are in the works in D.C. after a bus driver crashed a bus and was charged with a DUI. A settlement in a public records lawsuit reveals some of the emails submitted to Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s education tip line.

On campus: The University of Maryland has pledged to expand aid for in-state students who have significant financial need. What the twists, turns and drops of roller coasters are teaching Johns Hopkins University students about engineering.