School Board election: Davis ousts Smith; Croft wins seat

Rosemary Shinohara
Erik Hill

Former state legislator and School Board member Bettye Davis defeated incumbent Don Smith for one of two School Board seats on Anchorage's Tuesday election ballot.

Eric Croft, an attorney and former legislator, won the second seat in a three-way race. The seat had been vacated by School Board president Jeannie Mackie, who decided not to run for re-election.

The School Board members are not elected by district, but represent the entire city.

Voters picked one candidate for each of two seats.

Smith and Davis competed for Seat A, and Croft, Stephanie Cornwell-George and David Nees for Seat B.

Croft said he understands the School District's need for budget discipline, but wouldn't want to dismantle unions.

"I support people's right to organize and we need to bargain in good faith. But we need to count every penny as well," Croft said.

Croft served in the Alaska House of Represenatives for 10 years, until 2007. He has also run unsuccessfully for mayor.

Smith had been on the School Board since 2010. He served in the state House in the 1960s, and was an Anchorage Assembly member from 1975 to 1985.

Davis returns to the School Board after having served on it from 1982 to 1989, and from 1998 to 1999. She has also been a state representative and a state senator.

Another board member is also new, having been appointed Monday by the board to fill the unexpired term of Gretchen Guess. He is Kameron Perez-Verdia, the head of a nonprofit educational organization.

Lisa Demer contributed to this story. Reach Rosemary Shinohara at or 257-4340.