Hayward Blake sur­prise vic­tor in school board elec­tions

Un­counted bal­lots change out­come; for­mer Trepassey prin­ci­pal takes Zone 13

The Compass - - NEWS - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

In a shock­ing turn of events, Hayward Blake was de­clared the win­ning can­di­date for Zone 12 in pro­vin­cial school board elec­tions.

When re­sults were first re­leased last Wed­nes­day on the New­found­land and Labrador English School Dis­trict web­site, ev­ery­one thought Wade Smith — one of the most prom­i­nent crit­ics of NLESD and gov­ern­ment over the de­ci­sion to close Whit­bourne El­e­men­tary — was the win­ner by a com­fort­able mar­gin.

This morn­ing when I checked I was well be­hind and thought, ‘Oh well. I gave it a good shot.’ Hayward Blake

Re­sults showed Smith gar­nered 653 votes and Blake 486, with for­mer school board chair Mil­ton Peach and Ed­ward Cole well be­hind Smith. No men­tion was made of polls yet to re­port, thought the web­site did in­di­cate there were other zones still wait­ing on re­sults such as Zone 16 in St. John’s, where NLESD re­ported that one poll re­mained to be counted.

But later in the day, new re­sults put the Har­bour Grace coun­cil­lor ahead of Smith by a count of 784 to 678. A poll was re­port­edly missed in the ear­lier count due to a fax­ing er­ror, ac­cord­ing to NLESD.

Reached by The Com­pass that evening, Blake ad­mit­ted he was sur­prised to earn less than 500 votes, given he felt there were good pock­ets of sup­port in com­mu­ni­ties like Car­bon­ear, Har­bour Grace and around New Har­bour. But he did not at any point sus­pect a poll had been missed en­tirely.

“This morn­ing when I checked I was well be­hind and thought, ‘ Oh well. I gave it a good shot,’” said Blake. He did re­quest a break­down of re­sults for the polling sta­tions, though he did not re­ceive a re­sponse prior to the re­lease of the up­dated re­sults.

“I feel re­ally bad for the peo­ple — par­tic­u­larly Mr. Smith, who was de­clared the win­ner early this morn­ing and now un­for­tu­nately for him, dis­cov­ered that that’s not the case. That can be quite dis­heart­en­ing for sure.”

Mov­ing for­ward, Blake hopes to help make the board of trustees more ac­count­able and trans­par­ent in its deal­ings with the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. He is a for­mer prin­ci­pal at As­cen­sion Col­le­giate in Bay Roberts who went on to work for the Avalon East School Dis­trict. He’s now an em­ployee of Memo­rial Uni­ver­sity’s Fac­ulty of Ed­u­ca­tion.

Else­where, for­mer Stella Maris prin­ci­pal Kevin Ryan was the win­ner in Zone 13, an area that en­com­passes Spa­niard’s Bay, Bay Roberts, Clarke’s Beach, Pla­cen­tia and the South­ern Shore. Ryan nar­rowly beat for­mer school board trustee Eric A. Snow by only 16 votes (374-358). Des Line­han was third with 172 and Kay Crane fin­ished last with 119.

TC ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Kevin Ryan is a for­mer prin­ci­pal at Stella Maris in Trepassey.

TC ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Hayward Blake is the sur­prise win­ner in Zone 12. Ini­tial re­sults for the school board elec­tion sug­gested another can­di­date had won.

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