November 30, 2022

Bentonville and Cedarville school board races attract political candidates for the first time

Some political newcomers are bidding for Northwest Arkansas school board seats.

The week-long filing period ended Wednesday at noon with six candidates vying for three seats in the Bentonville and Cedarville school districts. Both races feature candidates making political offers for the first time.

Elections are scheduled for November 2. Most of the state‘s school districts held board elections in May, but Bentonville and Cedarville are two of the exceptions.

The winners will receive five-year terms. School board positions are unpaid in Arkansas.

Joe Quinn, the incumbent, will compete against Mike Swanson for the siege of Zone 7 of Bentonville, which covers southwestern Bentonville and parts of Centerton, Rogers, Highfill and Cave Springs. Both men live in Rogers.

Quinn, 65, ran unopposed in 2016, a year after the board appointed him to the seat vacated when Wendi Cheatham resigned.

Quinn is an independent consultant, he said. He has two children, both graduates of Bentonville High School.

The incumbent said he was running for another term to continue to see the district go through the covid-19 crisis.

“I believe there will be challenges and decisions can be made after the pandemic that will require reasonable and thoughtful people to make good decisions,” Quinn said.

Swanson, 32, of Rogers, said he was making his first run for public office to get more involved in what his children are learning.

“With so many young families moving to our district every week, it is crucial that the board is in tune with the challenges parents face on a daily basis,” he said in a press release. “I would also like the emphasis to be on the liberal arts part of education. In an age when sensationalism reigns supreme, it is important for our students not only to know the facts, but also to understand the facts. basic principles on which our society is founded and how we can function in a free society. “

Swanson works in sales for General Mills, he said. He has three children, one of whom is enrolled in Evening Star Elementary School and another in First Baptist Rogers School.

Eric White, chairman of the Bentonville board of directors, ran unopposed for Zone 3, which includes parts of north and central Bentonville and east of Centerton.

White defeated incumbent Grant Lightle and former board member Beth Haney with 55% of the vote in her first nomination for the board in 2016.

White, 52, is a Bentonville resident and executive vice president of Brosnan Risk Consultants, he said. He has two children who graduated from high schools in Bentonville and the West.

White said he is running for a second term to help Bentonville students continue their efforts towards a quality education.

“Our challenge is to go from really good, maybe even great, to keep improving,” he said. “It’s a unique challenge and it’s fun and exciting to be a part of it.”

Only zone residents are eligible to vote in Bentonville Board of Directors races.


Position 2 at Cedarville is up for election this year. All positions in the Cedarville School Board are in general.

Rodney Dickens, chairman of the Cedarville board of directors, currently holds the post but has not applied for another term, according to Gina Harris, assistant clerk for Crawford County.

Tammy Hibbard, Tracy Mankins and Laura Willis, all of Cedarville, have applied for the position, according to documents from the Crawford County Clerk.

Mankins, 42, said she was the director of inspections for the Arkansas Air National Guard. She is making her first candidacy for public office, she said. She has three children, two of whom attend Cedarville Elementary School.

“I saw the need and have a passion for raising my children,” Mankins said of his decision to run. “I want to be part of the school board to be a voice for the people of this community.”

Hibbard and Willis did not return messages left for them on Wednesday via phone, email and text.

Candidates at the time of filing must be qualified voters and a resident of the respective district and electoral zone, if council members are elected in the zones. Candidates must also file a petition with at least 20 signatures of qualified registered voters in the district or zone, or file a written nomination note with the county clerk.

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The following is a list of the Board of Education seats in each Northwest Arkansas school district that are up for election on November 2, the term of office that the election winner will receive and who filed. his candidacy for each. An asterisk after the name indicates a holder.


Zone 3, five years old: Eric White *

Zone 7, five years old: Mike Swanson, Joe Quinn *


Position 2, five years: Tammy Hibbard, Tracy Mankins, Laura Willis

Source: NWA Democrat-Gazette