Editor’s note: This is one in a series of question and answer articles about local candidates running for office. The Northern Virginia Daily asked candidates for the Shenandoah County School Board to answer three questions. Unedited responses are below.
Andrew Keller is running unopposed for the District 6 School Board seat that will be vacated by board member Sonya Williams-Giersch.
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I am a lifetime resident of Strasburg and a product of Shenandoah County Public Schools. I am a retired teacher, coach and administrator. During my teaching career, I taught Alternative Education, Social Studies, and Health and Physical Education. I also coached basketball at various levels. As an administrator, I was an assistant principal at Warren County Middle School and Warren County Junior High School. I later became the principal of Warren County Junior High School and had the opportunity to open Skyline High School in the fall of 2007 and serve that school as principal until my retirement in 2015. I currently supervise student teachers through Shenandoah University and manage AGK Rental Properties in Strasburg. I am an avid, yet mediocre golfer and enjoy spending time with my grandchildren.
Why are you running for School Board?
I believe that participating in local government is a cornerstone of our democracy and I can think of no better way to do this than to engage in something that I am familiar with and passionate about. I believe that the role of the school board is to help establish a vision and mission for our schools and provide community leadership as an advocate for students and teachers.
What is the biggest problem facing the School Board and how would you solve it?
I believe that the biggest problems facing our school board are not unique to Shenandoah County, but rather systemic issues that most school districts face. Some of those struggles include ensuring safe and orderly schools, addressing chronic student absenteeism, maintaining manageable classroom size, exploring ways to support students with limited resources, teacher retention, and staying current with technological advances.
These problems are not solved in a vacuum, but rather through collaborative efforts of all stakeholders. I believe that examining data and best practices can help guide the direction toward creative solutions.