Letter to the Editor: Shenandoah can’t afford to lose qualified teachers


District 2 in Shenandoah County is fortunate to have several viable candidates running for the School Board seat.Joanie Hovatter is one of the highly qualified candidates seeking election.

Mrs. Hovatter is a lifelong resident of Shenandoah County. She, her husband, and their four children were educated in the Shenandoah County Public school system. Her roots in education go back over 75 years to her grandmother Ora D. Dodson, who taught in a one-room schoolhouse near Orkney Springs in Shenandoah County.

Mrs. Hovatter brings something new to this position. Unlike her opponents, she has 32 years of hands-on experience in the school community. She has served as a teacher, reading specialist and administrator at two different levels. Mrs. Hovatter has vast experience in the areas of personnel, curriculum, assessment, and school planning. She has innovative ideas for fiscal responsibility.

In Winchester, she and her staff have successfully seen assessment scores increase  in a high-poverty school where over 85 percent of students qualify for free and reduced lunches. As a matter of record, Mrs. Hovatter and her staff are among only 15 percent of the schools in the state that have a high achieving, high poverty school. On the heels of approximately 70 teachers leaving Shenandoah County this year, Mrs. Hovatter is committed to working with and not alienating employees. She knows the value of listening and building relationships to solve problems.

We cannot continue to lose qualified teachers. We have to address the overcrowding at several campuses. We must eliminate accreditation issues, present in four of our schools. Mrs. Hovatter is qualified to investigate and help resolve many of the issues the school system faces.

Change needs to come for the sake of our students and employees.

Kathy G. Gangwer, Mount Jackson