The members of the Shenandoah County School Board recently voted on their leadership.

Karen Whetzel will remain chairwoman after being nominated by board member Richard Koontz.

“Leadership of the School Board is important as well as challenging at times,” Whetzel wrote in an email. “I am passionate about our students in Shenandoah County and hope that through serving as board chairman and working closely with other board members as well as the superintendent and staff, I can make a difference in helping our school division the best it can be for our students,” Whetzel wrote in an email.

Whetzel has been on the School Board for 10 years and has been its chairwoman since 2016.

She has served on various committees including Agenda Setting, Finance and Budget, and Policy Review. She has attended the Virginia School Board Association Delegate assembly, and that group has awarded Whetzel its Award of Distinction, according to the school division in a statement.

She pointed out in an email that she is serving in a proud line of women who have served on the board and some as chair.

“Some of my female role models on past boards are Carolyn Long, Elizabeth Cottrell, C.J. Borden, and Florence Young,” Whetzel wrote.

She cited the board’s implementation of recommendations for reducing overcrowding at the elementary schools as among the work she was proud of having done while on the board. That work, however, is not finished as the division is anticipating a continual increase in children entering kindergarten.

“We will have to continue to work on the long-term facility planning for Shenandoah County Public Schools,” Whetzel wrote.

Members voted Walsh, who was elected to the board in 2016, to serve as vice chair.

“It’s an honor to serve in a leadership position on the board,” Walsh said.

She and her husband Dan have three children who attend Shenandoah County Public Schools.

Walsh said she talked beforehand to Koontz, who was the sitting vice chair. He told her if she was interested in the position to go for it as he had become busy at work.

Koontz nominated her at the meeting, and it was a unanimous vote.

“I appreciate the vote of confidence of my fellow board members,” Walsh said.

She said she has the time and a flexible schedule to attend Virginia School Board meetings, as well as other informational meetings and events.

“I think I am well placed for it,” Walsh said.

Walsh is serving on the School Board’s Personnel, Instruction, and Buildings and Grounds Advisory Committees. She represents the board on the Shenandoah Valley Regional Program for Special Education where she is chair, according to the division.

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