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HUNTINGTON — Two incumbents on the Cabell County Board of Education and one new member were the top vote-getters in Tuesday’s primary election, according to unofficial results.

Rhonda Smalley, District 2; Mary Neely, District 1; and Joshua Pauley, District 3, emerged with the most votes Tuesday night.

Smalley received 18.92% of the vote, while Neely received 15.30% and Pauley received 13.75%.

Lauren Hensley was in the lead for the third seat through 63 precincts reporting, but Pauley pulled ahead as the last five precincts were counted.

“I’m just happy that the people of Cabell County have entrusted our education system to me, and I will do my absolute best for all stakeholders of Cabell County, most importantly the students,” Pauley said.

Pauley said he chose not to actively keep up with the results through the evening, but he was happy to learn he had been elected to fill the third seat. He thanked those who voted for him, and he said he looks forward to getting started with the other board members.

“I’m really humbled and honored, and I will do my best to make everyone proud of the vote they cast,” he said.

Smalley was first elected to the Cabell County Board of Education in 2014.

She said she was happy to be re-elected, and she felt all of the candidates who ran for the seats would serve the county well.

“It’s been rather exciting watching the votes come in because we had seven solid candidates for the board,” she said. “Any of those candidates could serve on the board and it would be good.”

Smalley said during her next term, she looks forward to seeing construction of new schools along with upgrades to facilities to keep students and staff safe.

Neely was first appointed to the board in 2009.

Neely said she is also excited to see new schools built in the district, along with the Cabell County Career Technology Center moving to the former Sears building in the Huntington Mall.

She thanked those who voted for her and supported her throughout the election season and said she will continue working hard to support Cabell County students.

“I am very honored to be elected, and I will continue to do the best I can for the students of Cabell County. I’m just so grateful,” she said. “I just want to tell everyone thank you for supporting me and how much I appreciate it. Like I said, I am very honored.”

The current Board of Education, made up of Neely, Shaw, Smalley and Alyssa Bond, will conduct a special meeting Wednesday, May 11, to appoint a board member to fill the vacant seat left by Garland “Skip” Parsons, who died in March. Fifteen people have applied.

The board will appoint someone to serve until Nov. 8, when a special election will take place to fill the remainder of Parsons’ term, which expires in 2024. A special filing period will take place for those who want to be considered for the seat. Information about when the filing period opens has not been released yet.

The final vote tallies, with 68 precincts reporting, were Smalley, 4,150; Neely, 3,357; Pauley, 3,016; Hensley, 2,975; Sami Adkins, 2,947; incumbent Charles Shaw, 2,805; and Bradley Dunkle, 2,685.

Shaw was appointed to the Board of Education in April 2021.

Results will not be final until the Cabell County Board of Canvassers, made up of the commission, reviews all provisional ballots cast. The board is tentatively scheduled to meet Monday, May 16.

Sarah Ingram is a reporter for the Herald-Dispatch, covering public K-12 education. Follow her on Twitter @SIngramHD.

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