Veteran educator seeks school board seat

Joanie Hovatter

Joanie Hovatter

A principal for a Winchester public school plans to run for the Shenandoah County School Board.

Joanie Hovatter, a lifelong resident of the county and veteran of public education, announced Thursday her intentions to seek the District 2 seat. Barbara Bliss, a retired, certified public accountant, also plans to run for the seat in the Nov. 3 election.

Hovatter, 53, cited her experience as a teacher, reading specialist and school administrator as giving her an advantageous perspective if elected to the board.

“From where I am and where I’ve been, I think there’s an opportunity for service,” Hovatter said. “I really appreciate those folks who put in time away from their families who made decisions that benefited me as a student back in the day as well as my own children and I’m at a point now in my career that it’s time to give back.”

Hovatter graduated from Stonewall Jackson High School in 1980, received a bachelor of science in early childhood education from James Madison University in 1984 and a master’s of science in reading from Shenandoah University in 1994.

Hovatter spent 23 years as a teacher in Shenandoah County teaching at W.W. Robinson Elementary School and as a reading specialist and reading-recovery trained educator at Ashby Lee Elementary School. Hovatter received her administration and supervision endorsement from the University of Virginia in 2007 and worked as an assistant principal and principal in the Page County Public School system from 2007-2012. Since 2012, Hovatter has served as principal at Garland R. Quarles Elementary School in Winchester.

Hovatter and her husband, Sonny Hovatter, a full-time farmer in Shenandoah County, have four, grown children.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or

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