With all votes counted in Williamson, Jackson, Perry, Franklin and Randolph counties Tuesday night, the three hotly contested seats on the John A. Logan College board have gone to Glenn Poshard, Jake Rendleman and Brent Clark.
Finishing out of the money were former Marion city commissioner Angelo Hightower and John Streuter of Carterville, a veteran of the banking industry.
With all precincts counted, the unofficial tallies are: Poshard, 5,232; Rendleman, 4,988; Clark, 4,505; Hightower, 3,664 and Streuter, 3,310. All totals are unofficial until the votes are canvassed.
Poshard, of Murphysboro and Rendleman, of Carterville, are incumbent members of the board. Clark, of Pittsburg, is the executive director of the Illinois Association of School Administrators, and a newcomer to Logan's board. He will assume the seat now held by Ray Hancock, who did not run for reelection.
All three trustees elected Tuesday will have six-year terms.
Poshard, the former president of SIU, was also a southern Illinois congressman and Illinois state senator. He was first appointed to the Logan board in September 2016, following the death of Trustee Bill Alstat, and was elected to a four-year term in his own right in 2017.
"I congratulate everybody who chose to run," Poshard said Tuesday night after all the precincts were counted. "I just talked to a good friend of mine in Mattoon, and he said they can't get anybody to run for community college board in their area.
"The fact that we had five spirited candidates to run is a tribute to Logan and the district."
Poshard said rebuilding the enrollment at Logan and maintaining a campus safe from COVID-19 are both his immediate and longer-term goals.
"We've got work to do," he said. "Every community college has been hurt by this pandemic. We're going to get our enrollment back up, and no matter how long this pandemic lasts we're going to have a safe campus."
Clark said his focus will be making Logan the center of a plan that involves all its feeder high schools, and helping each student develop their own post-high school plan.
"We lose a lot of kids between graduation and the first semester of college," he said Thursday. "They disappear, or get disinterested. We want to work with them so every high school student has a plan for after graduation." That plan, he said, could include Logan or another college or university, military service, or a career in the trades.
"There's a lot that can be done with the college serving as the convener," Clark said. "First, it helps the kids, by showing them options beyond high school. But there is no question that Logan's enrollment will be the benefactor as well."
Clark said he is also deeply interested in putting Logan in a position to be an even stronger player in economic development across southern Illinois. He believes that not only is the college strategically located near Route 13 and I-57, but that academically it can be strategic as well.
"Community college is the best value, bar none, for higher education across the country," he added.
Jacob "Jake" Rendleman has won his fifth term on the Logan College board, and was on the Foundation Board for 10 years before that. If he sees his new term through, he'll have 30 years on the board in 2027. A farmer, who is deeply invested in the School of Agriculture at Logan, he also taught 8th grade science for almost 30 years.
"I've always had an interest in education," he said Thursday. He said it is important that college remains affordable to students, and that those students graduate with an ability to support themselves, raise families and have comfortable lifestyles.
He remains on the Foundation Board as the representative from the school board. Rendleman is concerned about raising Logan's overall enrollment but said the college is in better shape than other community colleges -- instead of enrollment being flat this year like they expected, it actually went up 14%.