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Republicans set to take their seats on Souderton school board


Next week’s Souderton Area School Board reorganization meeting will see the installation of board members who won seats in this month’s election, a Republican sweep.

GOP candidates took all five seats up for election on the board in a year in which voter turnout topped 42%.

The Republican team — Keep Souderton Strong — was comprised of Mike Barnacz, Nick A. Braccio (incumbent), Bill Formica, Ken R. Keith (incumbent) and Kimberly Wheeler.

Kimberly Wheeler, a SASD mom with a BA in English Education, is one of the three newcomers and the top vote-getter among 10 candidates, with 7,609 votes.

Wheeler will be jointed by incumbent directors Braccio and Keith, who maintained their seats, and newly elected candidates Mike Barnacz and Bill Formica, who sits on the board having been appointed in June 2023.

After 16 years on the board, Thomas A. Kwiathowski decided not to seek reelection. Courtney Barbieri also did not seek another term.

The election results are still unofficial.

The Keep Souderton Strong team offered the following statement: “We would like to thank supporters in the Souderton Area School District. Over the past several months, it was our pleasure to have increased connection with proud SASD students, parents/guardians, teachers, and other members of our community. We are grateful for all of the support. We look forward to moving beyond the election to focus on the kids of this community, deliver on our team’s vision, and bring everyone together to keep Souderton strong.”

The Democratic Team — Souderton Area for Responsible Leadership — was comprised of Kristina Bertzos, Elise Bowers, Rosemary Buetikofer, Andrew Souchet, and Scott P. Swindells.

“(We) knocked on thousands of doors during this campaign and asked our residents what they need from the Souderton Area School District’s nine elected school board members,” read a statement from the Democrats. “What we heard was a resounding call for better communication, more listening, a renewed focus on academic performance, and the need to distance themselves from extremist ideology. While we came closer than ever before, we came up short in our mission to fight for those needs as school board members.”

The statement said the group would continue to watchdog the school board.

“We will continue to be present at all committee and action meetings, and we encourage those who want to see change to join us,” the statement read. “We will get representation for the whole community on this school board if we stay the course. Thank you for all your support this election cycle. We’ll see you soon.”

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