Keven Walker feels like he needs to do something to help the students in Shenandoah County, which is one of the reasons he decided to run for Shenandoah County School Board.

Walker is running for the District 1 seat in the Nov. 2 election against Dennis Barlow. Long-time board member Karen Whetzel holds the District 1 seat, but decided not to run for another term.

"I’m running for School Board because I care for the children of Shenandoah County and, as a parent of two children in our county schools and a concerned citizen, I feel called to service," Walker said. "And I think one of the best ways that I can serve this community is by representing the people of the first district on the School Board. I have a vested interest in the children of Shenandoah County."

Walker is the chief executive officer of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation and said he has always loved history. He has held that position and lived in the area since 2014 with his wife and three children. He said two of his children go to Mountain View High School.

Walker said he feels it's time for new leaders on the School Board.

"We need new leadership in Shenandoah County," Walker said. "The people that have been turned to in the past have failed us and picking the same party insiders that have stood by and watched problems grow for decades is not the answer. I’m a true conservative who is wholly committed to doing all that I can for the children of this county. I will bring accountability and transparency back to our school system."

Walker said he grew up in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and studied agriculture business at Penn State University, but left after two years to start his own business. He said he always loved history and he had an uncle who helped him start his own tour business in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Walker said he eventually expanded into West Virginia, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

"It was at that time that I began really getting into educational programing and the preservation of historic sites," Walker said. "I began working with schools to create three-and-four-day experiential learning trips focusing on history and civics and began restoring two Washington family homes to open to the public."

Walker said he then took a job working for the National Park Service as a park ranger. He said he was with the NPS for almost 12 years and was also a historian for Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Maryland, before taking the job with the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Association, which is based in New Market.

Walker said this is his first time running for School Board, but he has previously run for City Council in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Walker said if elected he will fight against critical race theory being taught in classrooms, he will fight for Weekday Religious Education and for discipline in the schools and to make sure classrooms are safe and conducive for learning. He said he will work to empower teachers and staff and look for ways to add an increased focus on civics, government and community service in the county's curriculum.

He said he will also stand up for the rights of parents and will fight against any attempts to undermine the constitutional authority of county School Boards.

"I will work to find ways to support the success of all students and examine the role of our schools in addressing social and economic challenges faced by many children in our communities," Walker said. "I will not let politics interfere with the education of (the students) and I will fight for their future — every single day."

Walker said he feels like he would be the perfect candidate for the School Board.

"We need a courageous leader on our School Board who will remain accountable to the people," Walker said. "Who will put students before politics and will not cave to the social whims of Richmond or Washington. We need a leader who will not yield to those who want to teach hate in our schools through programs like critical race theory, and who will stand up to the party or to state officials or anyone else who is attempting to push political agendas in our schools. ...We need a leader that will be transparent and accountable, hardworking, creative and visionary. We need a leader who wants to work with the students and teachers and administrators and make our schools the best they can possibly be. I strongly believe that I am that leader."

Contact Tommy Keeler Jr. at tkeeler@nvdaily.com