Two incumbents, a newcomer win School Board seats

Richard Koontz

R.L. “Rick” Koontz Jr. and Sonya Williams-Giersch will remain on the Shenandoah County School Board, and Cyndy D. Walsh will join the board as a result of  Tuesday’s elections.

Koontz ran against Barbara C. Bliss and Joanie B. Hovatter for the District 2 seat, narrowly defeating Hovatter, according to unofficial results. Koontz has served as chairman of the board for the past six years, but has been on the board for 12 years. Koontz won with 40.68 percent of the votes. Koontz was unavailable for comment on Wednesday.

Williams- Giersch, incumbent for District 6, said, “I felt humbled and blessed to be re-elected to continue serving our children and this community.”

Williams-Giersch ran against Van C. Holmes III for the District 6 seat. Williams-Giersch won with 75.36 percent of the votes.

“We will continue to keep instruction a priority and make decisions in the best interest of our children’s education,” she said. “We’ll continue our work on the overcrowding issues at the northern and central schools and give thanks for the dedicated staff who go above and beyond each and every day for our children.  We have lots of work to do as we continue to keep education a top priority in Shenandoah County.”

Cynthia Walsh

Newcomer Walsh said, “I’m very happy the citizens of this district decided to elect me.”

Walsh replaced Kathryn Holsinger for the District 3 seat. Holsinger chose not to seek another term. Walsh ran against D. Roger Barbee and Steve D. Wood. Walsh won with 38.54 percent of the votes.

As a new member of the School Board, she said, “The primary job is to be an advocate.” She said she is looking forward to “getting in there and doing the best possible job.’

Walsh’s plans include getting back to “less testing and more learning,” as well as “retaining and attracting quality teachers.”

The following is a breakdown of votes by district and precinct (unofficial results):

Sonya Williams Giersch

District 2

Mount Jackson:

• Koontz, of Mount Jackson, 44.3 percent

• Hovatter, of Mount Jackson, 37.40 percent

• Bliss, of Edinburg, 18.17 percent


• Koontz,  38.24 percent

• Hovatter,  42.01 percent

• Bliss 19.63 percent


• Koontz 29.63 percent

• Hovatter 53.70 percent

• Bliss 16.67 percent

District 3


• Walsh, of Edinburg, 37.02 percent

• Wood, of Edinburg, 33.81 percent

• Barbee, of Edinburg, 28.93 percent

Fort Valley:

• Walsh 40.26 percent

• Wood 28.16 percent

• Barbee 31.32 percent

St. Luke:

• Walsh 39.58 percent

• Wood 38.21 percent

• Barbee 22.08 percent


• Walsh 34.04 percent

• Wood 29.79 percent

• Barbee 36.17 percent

District 6


• Williams-Giersch, of Strasburg, 75.41 percent

• Holmes, of Strasburg, 24.22 percent


• Williams-Giersch 73.08 percent

• Holmes 26.92 percent

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com