English upends Baker's Sumter school board re-election bid

Former superintendent said he will not seek another board term in future


Brittany English is poised to be the new District 2 trustee, representing the northern portions of the county, on Sumter School District’s Board of Trustees following Tuesday’s runoff election.  

According to unofficial election-night totals, English earned 71.04% of the vote, or 368 votes in the runoff. Incumbent board member Frank Baker took 28.96%, or 150 votes.

In the midterm election on Nov. 8, English and Baker both received more votes than John Wrenn Jr.  A runoff is necessary when there are more than two candidates on the ballot but no one receives a majority of the votes (50% plus one vote). This is the first election the school board required a candidate to earn a majority of votes, rather than a plurality when simply the candidate with the most votes wins, even if it is under 50%.

English, a kinship care coordinator with the state Department of Social Services based in Columbia, said Wednesday that she was humbled by the trust and faith shown by her supporters.

"Thanks to my campaign manager, family and volunteers for countless hours of work that was shared to achieve this great accomplishment," she said. "As I embark on this journey, I will always keep God first. Lastly, I would like to thank Frank Baker and John Wrenn for rendering your time and life to public service along with running a clean race."

Baker congratulated English on her win and wishes the restructured board with seven new members success down the road.

"I am very pleased with the outcome of the election and very happy for Brittany," he said. "She will  bring a young, new perspective to the board, and I think that is very good. So, I am looking forward to her and her successes on the school board and the full board's success going forward."

Baker added that he has no intention of running again for the board in the future after a combined 48 years of service in Sumter's public schools. He said he is content to see new board members bring new perspectives to the board and their successes in those efforts.

Votes will be made official on Friday, according to the Sumter County Voter Registration and Elections Office.

Baker served a four-year term as an at-large board member since 2018 before the school board moved to nine single-member districts for this election and moving forward.

Baker was the district’s superintendent from 2013-17. He was also the longtime superintendent of the former Sumter School District 2 before consolidation in 2011. His term on the board will conclude in December.

All new school board members will be installed in early January.

Before this election, the board was comprised of seven single-member districts and two at-large seats since 2017. The boundaries were redrawn in response to the 2020 census and to legislation written by Sumter’s state lawmakers after millions in overspending was revealed in the school district’s 2016 audit. At that time and originally, the trustees were a seven-member board.