Jennifer Gray said she didn't take anything for granted in Tuesday's election for Lauderdale County schools superintendent, despite taking the lion's share of the votes in the three-candidate race.
Gray, the school system's federal programs/elementary curriculum director, handily won the superintendent's seat, claiming 49 percent of the unofficial votes.
She takes office in January.
"The areas each of us was expected to do well in, we did," Gray said.
Her home precinct of Greenhill provided Gray's single biggest victory margin, while the Mars Hill precinct, though close, went to Republican candidate Scott Jones.
"It was a clean race from start to finish and we've all agreed a great working relationship will continue," Gray said in reference to herself, Jones and independent Marty Mosley.
Both Jones and Mosley are administrators in the Lauderdale school system, with Jones serving as assistant principal for Central and Waterloo high schools and Mosley as assistant principal at Lexington School.
Jones, who got 40 percent of the vote, said the split in the east end of the county was a race-changer for him, along with the fact that he didn't win the west end of the county by as large a margin as was needed.
Jones ran for the superintendent seat in 2008 as well, but was defeated by Billy Valentine.
Valentine did not seek re-election and will retire at the end of this year.
Jones congratulated Gray on the victory shortly before 9 p.m.
"I told Jennifer I'll work with her, and she said we'll sit down and work on some ideas," Jones said. "I'm going to take this in stride and continue doing the best job I can."
Gray said her first priority will be to get comfortable with her new role as superintendent and get acquainted with school board members.
"During the campaign it was important all along to get the message out of my systemwide experience, and now I'll try to draw from that (experience) as superintendent," she said. "I really do believe that our system is poised for good things."
Lisa Singleton-Rickman can be reached at 256-740-5735 or lisa.singleton-rickman@TimesDaily.com.