Dennis Barlow has plenty of experience in education and the military and hopes to bring that to the Shenandoah County School Board.

Barlow is running for the Shenandoah County School Board’s District 1 seat against Keven Walker in the Nov. 2 election. Incumbent Karen Whetzel is not seeking re-election.

Barlow said he taught social studies in public schools into the 1980s in Baltimore County, Maryland, where he also coached wrestling, lacrosse and softball. In the mid-1980’s, he said he taught military history at Princeton University and worked as an associate professor at James Madison University developing outreach, support and educational projects from 1996-2010.

Barlow said the recent name-change issue with two schools on the Southern Campus in Shenandoah County made him realize he should run for the School Board seat.

“The school name-change issue caught my attention,” Barlow said. “I tried to make my views known but I was made to feel ignored and marginalized. Subsequent issues convinced me that an era of political indoctrination was in full swing and I want to return our schools to quality objective teaching.”

Barlow is a retired Army colonel and worked at the Pentagon as a planner on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as the director in the Special Operations Directorate in the office of the Secretary of Defense.

He said he’s lived in the area since 1996 and has four children, who are grown and raising children of their own.

Barlow said, if elected, he would like to see changes made with the courses offered.

“I’d like to reemphasize objective curricula,” he said. “Develop more robust and imaginative courses — including more advanced technical and vocation training, end political indoctrination in the classroom, and fight back against the tide of judgmentalism which is included in current educational initiatives.”

Barlow said he feels like he would be a great fit for the School Board.

“At each stage of my career, I have honed skills as a team player which I think are uniquely applicable to creating educational policies,” Barlow said. “I spent two years as a trial counsel in military courts-martial, 14 years as a public-school teacher, 14 more years as a senior Army planner and humanitarian policy-maker in the Pentagon, and 14 years developing diplomatic solutions for countries plagued by the threats of hidden landmines. I have been able to bring people together to solve some of life’s greatest challenges. I am certain I can do the same for concerns our schools — and students — are facing.”

– Contact Tommy Keeler Jr. at