As an independent candidate, Hannah Emmanuele knew the odds were against her.
Which made the more than 1,100 votes she received in Tuesday night's election for the Lake Forest High School District 115 Board of Education all the more meaningful.
"I am thrilled," she said. "I think the numbers are more than significant."
As of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Emmanuele trailed Caucus-backed candidate Monty Edson by 167 votes. There are still provisional ballots and late-arriving ballots to be counted, but it may not prevent the Lake Forest Caucus-backed trio of Edson, Dick Block and Nicki Snoblin from winning the three open seats on the board.
Snoblin, who lives in Lake Bluff, led the voting with 1,555 votes just ahead of Block's 1,510. Edson stood third with 1,365 and Emmanuele had 1,198.
Edson wasn't ready to claim victory, but he believes in the caucus system. "The (caucus) board does a great job, and I'm happy to have them tap me on the shoulder," Edson said.
Edson believes the board has significant issues to confront right off the bat, including the negotiation of a new teacher contract this summer and the selection of a new superintendent against a backdrop of fiscal issues.
Early Wednesday morning, Emmanuele e-mailed comments noting she will continue her involvement in supporting the local schools regardless of the election outcome.
"I am honored to have had the opportunity to run for such an important role for Lake Forest High School District 115. I am overwhelmed by the level of support from so many community members for my candidacy. One thing I really treasure is the outpouring of support and number of conversations I have had with fellow community members concerning our schools and the education of our children.
"The very close results are a reflection of the current pulse in our community--a statement that people are looking for a change. Throughout this experience it is evident that many people want someone to focus on the best interests of our children. Our kids need an advocate who understands their needs and the skills they require to be successful in their lives.
"I am humbled by the many people who are genuinely interested in a fresh voice for our school board and who understand the needs of our kids. Someone who is willing to partner with all our stakeholders-- teachers, administrators, and parents--to help drive the future of education for our children in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and Knollwood.
Regardless of the final outcome, I am proud and excited that we have forever changed the dialogue about our schools and the future of education for our children."