Yukon school board member withdraws from race

Michele Hawthorne ineligible for election; two other board members in April 6 races

Michele Hawthorne

Yukon Public Schools Board Member Michele Hawthorne is not seeking election to the seat in Office 4.

Hawthorne has withdrawn her candidacy. Brian Coulson will automatically be elected to the seat, said Canadian County Election Board Secretary Wanda Armold.

There will not be a race with Hawthorne’s withdrawal, Armold said.

Hawthorne withdrew on Dec. 11, so her name will not be on ballots for the April election. She had filed for the seat before deciding to withdraw. Hawthorne had been appointed to the school board seat in February 2020 to fill a vacancy.

According to a statement from a YPS spokeswoman, during the filing process in December, Hawthorne discovered her home address was on the wrong side of the street to serve as a board member for the vacated seat.

“Acting with integrity, Mrs. Hawthorne immediately withdrew her name from consideration,” according to the statement. “After volunteering to serve through one of the most turbulent eras in public education, she tendered her resignation effective January 11, 2021. The single candidate filing for Office 4 will take office at the first board meeting following the April 2021 YPS Board of Education election.”

Hawthorne and two other Yukon board members had drawn challengers for the upcoming election in the district.

It is the first time since 2012 that there has been a race for a school board seat in the Yukon district, a district spokeswoman reports.

The election is set for Tuesday, April 6, 2021. The winners will be sworn in at the May 3, 2021, board meeting.

School Board President Suzanne R. Cannon, Office 1, and Office 5 board member Don Rowe are in races to keep their seats on the board in April.

Filing at the Canadian County Election Board for Office 1 were Cannon, of Oklahoma City, and Andrew Lewis, of Yukon.

Cannon was elected as board president by the board members in July.

It is Cannon’s third time to serve the board as president. She has been on the school board for 10 years.

Filing in Office 4, for an unexpired term, were candidates Brian Coulson, of Yukon, and incumbent Hawthorne, of Yukon, before Hawthorne withdrew.

Hawthorne succeeded Jeff Behymer as Office 4 representative. Behymer – who had served since July 2016 – then resigned in December 2019 after moving to a home outside Office 4.

In Office 5, the unexpired term is open for election, and incumbent Rowe will face challenger Cody Sanders, of Yukon.

In-person, virtual and distance learning has been an issue in the district since the pandemic started in March. Yukon Schools started the year with remote learning and went to in-person learning in September. The district went back to remote learning after Thanksgiving but will return to in-person learning Jan. 11, 2021.