EDMOND — Cynthia Benson said hand-me-down campaign signs and a lot of doorbell ringing helped her win a seat on the Edmond school board.
Benson's first foray into politics proved to be successful on Tuesday; she won the seat by a tally of 216-159, earning 57.6 percent of the vote. She defeated incumbent Stephanie Bills.
Benson didn't know she had won until a few hours after the election.
“I was busy picking up campaign signs,” she said. The signs, urging people to vote Benson, actually belonged to an in-law who had served in the state Legislature.
“They had been in a barn for 15 years,” Benson said.
There was that, and her visits to hundreds of homes.
“I probably knocked on 600 to 700 doors,” she said. “We had some good weather on many weekends. That's what allowed me to do that.”
Listening to the concerns of patrons, she heard a lot from teachers, who she said were weary of reforms, including state testing and unfunded mandates.
She'll get a chance to see what she can do about those and other challenges at the next regular board meeting on March 3. That's when she'll be sworn into a five-year term. She's already received congratulations from Superintendent David Goin as well as members of the board.
Benson, 44, is married to Brent Benson. They have two children who attend Summit Middle School. For years she has been an active volunteer there and at Quail Springs Baptist Church.
Benson was among those who applied for the post last summer after former board member George Cohlmia resigned when his daughter was hired as a teacher in the district.
Board members chose Bills, a human resources executive officer with Metro Technology Center, to fill the vacant seat.
Bills, a former instructor at Edmond Santa Fe High School, looked back on her time with the board.
“It has been an honor and privilege to serve Edmond Public Schools the past six months,” she said. “I have enjoyed working with an amazing superintendent.”
She looked ahead to the challenges of the district.
“We must continue to fight for our education system as the Legislature gives consideration to our funding,” Bills said. “Congratulations to Mrs. Benson as she takes one of the most critical seats in government. Our board will need our prayer and support as they will be making critical decisions going forward.”
Benson also struck a spiritual note.
“I'll be getting wisdom from God,” she said.