John Louritt appointed to Douglas County School Board
John Louritt, who lost a primary election for Douglas County School Board in September, was appointed Wednesday to fill the position left vacant by the teacher who won it.
Louritt, 54, a retired police detective, filed an application for the position after Douglas High School teacher Randy Green was told he had a conflict of interest and could not serve the term to which he was elected.
Louritt ran against Green and incumbent John Raker and received 1,487 votes in the primary, two less than Raker.
“Since then, it’s been a long time,” Louritt said. “But it’s rewarding now. I’m glad I actually prevailed.”
Louritt was born in California but never lived in one place very long because his father was in the U.S. Navy.
He graduated from South Tahoe High School, and worked in South Lake Tahoe as a detective.
He moved to Gardnerville 14 years ago because his wife, Marty, did not like living in the snow. He retired from the police force in 1998 and now works part-time as a domestic violence and sexual assault caseworker.
“I originally decided to run for the board when I had the time to do so,” Louritt said. “This was the first opening in my area.”
His daughter Karlye, 17, is a senior at Douglas High School and has attended Douglas County schools since kindergarten.
Louritt, who volunteers his time on the Senior Services Advisory Council and the Young at Heart Advisory Board, said he hopes to be a unifying force on the school board.
“I ran my campaign based on healthy relationships,” he said. “It’s certainly OK to disagree but you have to be above being the little guy. If you’re not in the majority vote, you still have to support the board.”
Louritt was one of four candidates to seek the vacant seat.
Keith Hellwinkel withdrew from candidacy, saying, “I just don’t think I’m ready for this right now.”
Brian Chandler and Stacey Francois also applied for the position.
After a question-and-answer period, board members discussed their personal choices.
Trustees David Brady, Jim Keegan and Keith Roman were in favor of Louritt. George Echan and Michele Lewis argued for Francois and Cheri Johnson favored Chandler.
“I was impressed by the freshness of his answers,” Johnson said. “Frankly, it was nice to hear it.”
However, twice the votes were split, 3-3 between Louritt and Francois. In the third vote, Louritt won.
The seat was left vacant just two months after the election with the decision from Douglas County District Judge Michael Gibbons that Green could not sit on the board and remain an employee of the district. Green received nearly 9,500 votes, almost twice that of his opponent.
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After a period of dry, warm weather, winter returns this week to Lake Tahoe.