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Downers Grove District 58 sees 4 fresh faces on board after April 4 elections

DOWNERS GROVE – After many months of contentious board meetings, community events and more, voters decided to choose four brand new faces on the Downers Grove Grade School District 58 Board of Education, according to preliminary results form the DuPage County Election Commission.

Candidates Beth Taylor (21.4 percent), Jill Samonte (21 percent), Gregory Harris (18.1 percent) and Darren Hughes (17.8 percent) took the four available seats in the race, beating out Christopher Heppner (10.14 percent) and Susan Helsdon (11.7 percent).

Heppner was the lone incumbent to seek re-election on the board, whose critics railed against several cutbacks, a perceived lack of communication and engagement among other issues.

Samonte, the community access coordinator at the DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville specifically noted the goal of getting "other voices heard throughout the community" in her Suburban Life candidate questionnaire.

Taylor, the top vote-getter, said she and the four other new board members had been campaigning together and hoped those that came out to vote would continue to get involved in making the district stronger.

"I'd like to thank everybody for all their support and good thoughts and words," she said.

She decades in the community, including 20 years as a teacher in the district, as a prime reason for her success.

Taylor said she hoped to use her experience in the classroom to rebuild the relationship between the district administration and teachers, a large issue in this year's election.

"I know teachers have been feeling left out of things and not heard," Taylor said. "I hope I can help mend the wound a little bit."

To view the preliminary results, visit and check for all of Suburban Life's election coverage.

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