Bill Thompson pulled the majority of votes for the Hall County school board at-large position, beating out incumbent Richard Higgins.
With the top spot in the Republican primary and no Democratic opponents, Thompson will be the only name on the November ballot for the at-large position.
Thompson, 60, retired in May after 32 years with Hall County Schools. He was at Johnson High School for 21 years, principal of Jones Elementary School for six years and principal of Chestatee High School for five years. Thompson awaited election returns with wife Linda, a Hall County administrator, and friends at Curt's Restaurant in Oakwood.
"I feel so thankful for all the folks who trust me to speak up," Thompson said.
Thompson plans to focus on student achievement and how to handle further budget cuts.
"The main thing is going to be continued work with Adequate Yearly Progress and how the graduation rate standards will continue to go up," he said. "The budget will always have to be looked at very closely, and where we feel like we can't make any more cuts, there may have to be cuts."
He promised to work with the school board to ease his transition.
"I've been going to the board meetings, and this will make it even more important now to keep going," he said. "Richard is a friend of mine, and we've talked up until tonight, and I don't see that changing whatsoever. We'll work with the board to make everything as easy and smooth as possible."
Higgins, owner of trucking logistics company Carrier Services, has 11 years under his belt as school board chairman. He watched election results with wife Connie, a Hall County teacher, and friends at his home.
"I was a little bit surprised, but it is what it is," he said. "You do what you think is right, and the school system has made great strides in the last 12 years. I'll help Bill in any way I can and finish out the year by getting school off to a good start. It's been an honor to serve Hall County."