Racine School Board Fills Two Vacancies

Sept. 25, 2023 9:10p

(WGTD)---Two vacancies on the Racine School Board were filled Monday night by a vote of the remaining board members.

April Harris will follow Auntavia Jackson in representing District 6--a downtown area--while Nikki Fisher will take over for Matt Hanser in District 8, an area that covers parts of Caledonia, Wind Point and North Bay. Both Jackson and Hanser recently resigned from the board, creating the unusual situation of two vacancies on the nine-member board occurring simultaneously.  

If they want to hang on to their new positions, both Harris and Fisher will have to run in next April's election. 

Harris owns two arts-related businesses and at one point was employed by the district's truancy abatement program. Harris graduated from Racine Unified, and now has a child with special needs that's enrolled in the district. By a vote of 3-2, Harris was selected over Chris Hefel, who owns a small construction firm with her husband. Harris becomes the board's only African-American member. 

Fisher is employed as a consultant who has worked on matters related to education while serving on the Racine Interfaith Coalition's Education Task Force. She also has held several volunteer positions within the district. Her candidacy was supported by all five board members who voted over Christian de Jong, a former culinary arts instructor at Tremper High School in Kenosha and at Gateway Technical College. He currently is employed in the private sector as a food service manager. 

A third candidate in the 8th District was to have been considered, but Denis Navratil was out of town and could not participate in Monday night's interviews that were held before the board vote. 

Per the board's rules, board president Jane Barbian did not participate in the voting. Board member Brian O'Connell is out of the country and was absent from the meeting.