Longtime Washington County School Board member D. Dayton Owens lost his seat Tuesday to challenger W. Lee Brannon, who won by more than 200 votes.

Brannon, a former assistant superintendent and principal in the school system, brought in 1,259 votes compared to Owens’ 1,013, according to unofficial numbers late Tuesday. Brannon, 60, of Glade Spring, worked 34 years in public school systems before retiring. Owens served for 16 years on the board.

The race was the only contested School Board seat in the county this election cycle.

“I’m very humbled and appreciative of the people in District D who had confidence in me to fulfill this position, and I look forward to serving the students of Washington County Public Schools,” Brannon said Tuesday night.

His added that his first goals will be to listen and learn about the current issues within the school system.

In 2005, Brannon was the county’s assistant superintendent. Before that, he was Abingdon High School’s principal from 1998 to 2001 and John S. Battle High School’s principal from 1993 to 1998. He also served as the superintendent of schools in Norton and Wythe County, both in Virginia.

Brannon previously said school safety is one of his top concerns. He also said he wants to make sure the school system is attracting and retaining high-quality employees with the best salary and benefit packages.

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