School Board candidates file for fall election

Five Shenandoah County residents have filed the necessary paperwork to be put on the ballot for the School Board election in November.

Chairwoman and District 1 Board Member Karen Whetzel said she will run to remain on the School Board.

“I am proud of the work that the Shenandoah County School Board has done over the past eight years that I have served. No one board member has authority or can accomplish something on his or her own,” she said. “Our School Board has worked together on a number of challenging issues. We haven’t always agreed but we have always been respectful and work with the best interests of students in Shenandoah County in mind.”

“We have been transparent, involved our stakeholders and have concentrated on long term planning. I am looking forward to continue working with Superintendent [Mark] Johnston, employees, parents, students and community members on some of the things we’ve begun but have not completed,” she added.

District 4 School Board Member Katheryn Freakley and District 5 School Board Member Irving Getz will not be seeking re-election to the board. Their terms will end on Dec. 31.

Freakley said the community needs to focus on the future in a positive and productive way to move the school division forward, even after her absence from the board.

“Being on the School Board has been one of the hardest challenges yet most rewarding experiences of my life. I am so thankful and grateful that our school community welcomed me as part of Team Shenandoah. Our Shen Co kids, teachers and staff are impressive beyond measure and I will miss our frequent interaction terribly.

“Fighting for quality education in our community, including adequate facilities, will remain one of my top priorities as a parent and taxpayer, but I do believe in the power of fresh perspective and the opportunity for others to foster new, proactive, forward-thinking ideas that put Shenandoah County in the position for continued success, which I hope District 4 will fully embrace in the Board of Supervisors election as well,” she said.

Freakley added that because of the cohesive, fair and balanced approach among the School Board members and school staff, the board has accomplished many substantive objectives, such as an increase in academic equity across the campuses, more prep time for teachers, laying out an extensive long-term facilities plan to guide the division forward, providing much needed staff, including nurses and custodians “and done so amidst a time of great dysfunction and stagnation at the supervisor level.”

“Beyond maintaining the basic principle of making decisions in the best interest of our students, to include attracting, retaining and respecting the very best staff, I do hope that the work of all those involved in the long-term facilities effort is seen to fruition as it is imperative that the critical needs of our school facilities, now and in the future, are adequately addressed,” she added.

Lisa McDonald, director of elections and general registrar for the Office of Shenandoah County Voter Registration and Elections, said Whetzel will be on the ballot for District 1, Michelle Manning will be on the ballot for District 4, and District 5 will see a contested race with Chris Boies, Shelby Kline and Eugene Putkowski all seeking that seat.

District 2 Board Member Richard “Rick” Koontz, Jr., District 3 Board Member Cynthia Walsh, and District 5 Board Member Sonya Williams-Giersch will not be up for re-election until 2019.