The race for Humble ISD Board of Trustees Position 3 is down to two candidates after Deborah Yocham withdrew her candidacy Feb. 24. Remaining in the race are incumbent Angela Conrad and challenger Christopher D. Herron.

Yocham retired in December 2016 after a lengthy career with Humble ISD. She served in many roles, including assistant superintendent of elementary schools, director of construction and facilities planning, and principal of Willow Creek and Deerwood elementaries. Yocham picked up a school board packet the day before they were due, on Feb. 16, and originally expressed interest in Position 5. However, when she turned her packet in on the next day, she filed to run in Position 3. One week later, she dropped out of the race.

On Feb. 24, Yocham said, “I was invited by Angela Conrad to have coffee today, and it was an opportunity to have a great conversation. I retired in December and never had the time that I do now to really visit and get to know Conrad. We discovered that we are pretty much on the same page with each other. We walk the same walk. So I had to ask myself, ‘Why would I run against someone with the same heart and passion that I have?’” Yocham withdrew from the race shortly after her meeting with Conrad. “Don’t count me out for the future, just count me out for this race,” Yocham continued, and went on to say that she will definitely be serving in some capacity in the future.

Word spread quickly that Yocham had dropped out. Beginning  Friday afternoon through Saturday, the Tribune had queries from interested parties in the form of emails, texts and phone calls.  In total, the Tribune was contacted by eight community members, all of whom speculated, in one form or another, that Yocham and Conrad had reached some sort of agreement, including conjecture that support was possibly offered for the seat expected to be vacated by Heath Rushing. On Feb. 6, Rushing officially left the CEO job at Memorial Hermann Northeast and took responsibility as CEO of Memorial Hermann Cypress and Memorial Hermann Katy hospitals. Rushing and his family are expected to move from the Kingwood area and likely give up his board seat after the current school year is over.

Conrad is currently serving her first term after being elected to Position 3 in 2013. Conrad is vehement that she made no deal with Yocham and never discussed Rushing’s seat.

”I've had no discussion with anyone about appointment to Mr. Rushing's seat because he has yet to resign. I'm not even sure at this point that I would even support an appointment for that position,” Conrad said. She continued by saying, “This publishing really calls into question my integrity and I don't believe I've given any reason during my term why anyone should question my character or motives.”

Conrad  also contacted  her second opponent, Christopher Herron, to have coffee; he responded by saying, “She did [contact me] and I have absolutely no idea why. I don’t know yet whether I will accept. I don’t know her [Conrad] and I don’t want to disrespect or slight her in any way. If I do go, it will be to say ‘Hi, nice to meet you’ and that’s about it.”

Conrad stated that she invited both Yocham and Herron for coffee, having obtained their phone numbers from the daily filing summary compiled by the district. “I wondered if they would be interested in meeting sometime soon to talk before the campaigning gets going.” Conrad said her purpose of the meetings is to get to know one another a bit before campaigning, share motivations for running, and hopefully make the race a little less awkward since they'll likely be attending a lot of events together over the coming months. “It’s the same as when I met with Bonnie Longnion in my first race,” Conrad said.

This story was revised March 1, 2017.