Veteran Lemke loses SKSD board seat to challenger Sebren

PORT ORCHARD — Chris Lemke, a longtime South Kitsap School District member of the board of directors, lost his bid for re-election Aug. 7 for his District 3 seat in a 55.5 percent to 44.1 percent defeat to challenger Elizabeth Sebren. Sebren received 5,458 votes to Lemke’s 4,340 votes, as of Nov. 10.

“I’m excited,” Sebren said. “It’s just starting to sink in.”

Sebren taught in the district for 27 years.

She said she is excited to be a part of the district in a leadership role.

“I’m looking forward to bringing my experience and perspective as a former teacher in the district, and looking forward to the award-winning group of directors we have now,” she said.

Lemke comes from a U.S. Navy and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard background.

“I think my opponent is very worthy,” Lemke said. “She let me know three years ago that she had planned on running for my position if I decided to run again. She stayed steadfast.”

Lemke said that he thinks Sebren bringing the perspective of a retired teacher to the school board “would be advantageous.”

“I think the other thing is, there’ll be more of a balance on the board,” he said. “We used to have two women on the board … I don’t think we’ve ever had three. I think that’ll bring a balance, also, which is kind of nice.”

Lemke also reiterated the importance of voting.

“I think voter apathy is just unbelievable, that people don’t turn out and vote,” he said. “Whatever the outcome is, it’s going to be based on a very, very small minority of people who could have actually voted in this election, and that truly disappoints me. If people would vote and get to know the people that are running for a particular position and what they’ve done, the outcome probably would’ve been different.”

However, Lemke said that “the most important thing is, we have someone who has wanted the job” on the school board.

Two other incumbents, Seward Stevens and Rebecca Diehl, ran unopposed for the District 1 and District 4 seats, respectively.

Stevens received 6,618 votes, or 98.5 percent, with 99 votes or 1.5 percent going to write-in candidates. Diehl received 6,655 votes, or 98.7 percent.