Shenandoah County voters on Tuesday will be voting in three districts for School Board members.
Voters in District 2 have the only contested race for the School Board. They will choose between Marty Helsley and Jessica Kelly, who are challenging each other for the seat left vacant by Richard Koontz.
Helsley, 68, has been an educator teaching middle school science and math. He has also served on the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors.
Helsley has said some of the bigger issues he believes the school division is facing are discipline in the schools, wasteful spending, the grading policy, excessive personnel at the central office and drugs.
Jessica A. Kelly, 40, is employed as director of research programming at The Urban Institute.
Kelly has previously said she believes in the division’s strategic plan put in place for 2018 - 2024 and that it lays out the correct priorities in order to prepare students and support teachers.
Kelly has said some of the bigger issues she believes the division is facing are maintaining and building on the positive changes made over the past two to three years, such as achieving accreditation and in providing competitive compensation to teachers, and keeping ahead of facility needs.
In District 3, incumbent Cyndy Walsh (Cynthia D. Walsh), 52, is running unopposed on the ballot.
Walsh is the executive director of the Shenandoah Education Foundation.
Walsh said she wants to continue to focus on providing the best possible education for all students in Shenandoah County. She has previously said one way to do that is to retain highly qualified teachers and staff.
She has previously said one of the bigger challenges facing the district is behavior and discipline in schools, at times the result of students who come from homes where they have experienced trauma or are living in poverty or other adverse conditions. She pointed out the School Board has added specialists to help with ensuring that each student gets the support he or she needs as well as the Alternative Suspension Center (housed at Triplett) to address behavior and discipline in the schools.
Voters in District 6 will see Andrew Keller, 58, on the ballot.
Keller is a student teacher supervisor with Shenandoah University. He is a retired teacher, coach and administrator.
He has previously said he believes the role of the School Board is to help establish a vision and mission for the schools and provide community leadership as an advocate for students and teachers.
Keller has said he believes some of the bigger problems facing the division and not unique to Shenandoah County are systemic issues, including the struggle to ensure safe and orderly schools, addressing chronic absenteeism, and maintaining manageable classroom size.
Keller is running uncontested for the seat left vacant by Sonya Williams-Giersch.