With all precincts reporting, Thayer won the primary runoff with 3,030 votes, or 70 percent. Stultz received 1,271 votes, or 30 percent.
Thayer now faces Democrat Kenya Pierre, an attorney, in the Nov. 4 general election.
Post 2 covers southeast Cobb and represents 21 schools.
Thayer, who watched the results come in at home with friends and family, said she wanted to thank her supporters.
“I’ve been very appreciative to the voters who supported me and the people who still care so much about our schools, whether they have children or not,” Thayer said.
Thayer, a consultant with James Wilson’s Education Planners, said she has received consistent support from voters during her campaign.
“I just did the same thing during the runoff as before the primary,” Thayer said. “I’ve tried to be as accessible as I can be.”
Thayer said she arranged meetings with parents and other community members interested in seeing a change in south Cobb schools.
With more than 30 years of experience in education, Thayer said voters were confident she would know how to help schools in south Cobb.
“I have the time and energy to effectively represent our schools,” Thayer said.
She said she knew voters were ready for a change after the primary election because a majority of voters chose someone other than Stultz.
Thayer said she was encouraged to run by Cobb Chamber of Commerce CEO David Connell as well as three current school board members.
Stultz, who watched the results come in at home with family, said he was proud of his campaign and didn’t regret anything.
“I congratulate Mrs. Thayer on her win this evening,” Stultz said.
He said he was looking forward to moving on from his post on the school board.
“It was a lot of hard work and I feel very disappointed … but I look forward to what comes next,” Stultz said.
Stultz said his opponent had more financial support behind her.
“(Thayer) was well-funded and I think that helped her campaign,” Stultz said.
Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon called Stultz into the spotlight after criticizing the state of south Cobb schools during his State of the City address July 10. Bacon suggested Stultz’s history of inaction during his tenure resulted in the board “shortchanging” schools in south Cobb, such as Osborne, Pebblebrook and Campbell. When board Chairwoman Kathleen Angelucci asked Bacon to apologize to Stultz and requested the mayor meet with her, Bacon declined, saying, “I don’t like arguing with Polacks.”
Thayer declined to comment on the events.
Thayer said she benefited from running against an incumbent.
“I think many people here were not happy with (Stultz’s) votes,” Thayer said.
Now that Thayer will be a member of the board, more questions may come about a possible nepotism conflict that first came to light after an MDJ report in June.
Thayer’s husband, Ed Thayer, is supervisor of Lassiter High School’s Concert Hall.
A state policy forbids board members from serving if they have an immediate family member who is a “principal, assistant principal or system administrative staff” in their district. Thayer said she was unaware of the policy even though she had signed an affidavit March 5 confirming she had “read and understand the code of ethics and the conflict of interest provisions.”
Thayer has a list of goals she plans to accomplish as a member of the school board: “To remain focused on the important issues of making fiscally sound decisions, increasing student achievement, improving facilities, hiring and retaining highly qualified teachers for our classrooms, strengthening the parent-school partnership and maintaining school safety.”
During the campaign, the two candidates differed on one highly debated topic: Common Core standards in schools.
Thayer said during her campaign they are a framework that can be adjusted and built upon. She said the issue is too politicized, and the standards will have little impact on the day-to-day learning environment. Stultz was against the Common Core.
During the May 20 Republican primary, Thayer won 1,878 ballots, or 45 percent of the vote, while Stultz took 1,405 votes, or 34 percent of the vote. Jeffrey Abel, a lending officer with Wells Fargo of Smyrna, was left behind with only 878 votes, or 21 percent. Abel endorsed Thayer after conceding his loss.