Jessica Kelly, who lives outside of Mount Jackson, is running for the District 2 seat on the Shenandoah County School Board that opened up after board member Richard Koontz announced he is not running for another term.

Kelly said she believes in public education. She is a product of public education and said she has two children enrolled in the county schools.

“I like the work the School Board has done the last couple of years and want to see that continue,” Kelly said, adding that work includes the strategic plan and the support the board has given to teachers.

Kelly said she also likes how the division supports not just the students who are on the path to college but those who are looking to go into the workforce, such as the programs at Triplett Tech.

Kelly works as the director of research programming at the Urban Institute, a nonprofit research organization. Her work requires listening to and collaborating with people to find solutions.

“That is a skill I can bring to the board,” she said.

Kelly is also running because she said she believes in being a part of and working to better the community. As such, she is involved in the Mount Jackson Hometown Partnership, including helping to organize its fundraiser chili cook-off.

Kelly said to help better the community, she is talking to people and listening to their concerns.

“I will continue with that,” she said.

– Contact Melissa Topey at