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 three questions. The unedited responses are below.
Kristen J. Pence is running for the South River District Seat on the Warren County School Board. The seat is held by Donna McEathron, who is not running for reelection. Tim Ratigan is also running for the seat. He did not send the Northern Virginia Daily bio information or responses to the three questions.
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I was born and raised in Browntown and currently live with Josh and Tallulah in the home we built on my parent’s beef cattle farm. I am a veterinarian at Warren County Veterinary Clinic, where I first started as a kennel assistant in 1997. Since graduating and moving back to the area in 2009, I have been an active member of our community. I have been a member of the Rotary Club of Warren County since 2010, holding numerous positions including Club President (2018-19). My time as a Rotarian has allowed me to work closely with many of the programs available in our community. I have participated in projects that brought new playground equipment to E. Wilson Morrison, food collection and funding for Backpack Buddies, and school and hygiene supplies to our elementary and middle schools, just to name a few.
I was involved in the initial planning of Project Lead the Way in Warren County and Skyline High Schools, a program which provides coursework in Engineering and Biomedical Sciences and offers students a more engaging, hands-on learning experience. I have visited both Warren County and Skyline High Schools, both middle schools, Ressie Jeffries, Hilda J. Barbour, and A.S. Rhodes Elementary Schools for Career and Community Helper Days and after-school mentorship programs.
Why are you running for School Board?
I am running for School Board in the South River District because I want to take an active role in understanding the needs of our public schools and ensuring their success. As a graduate of Warren County High School and lifelong resident of Warren County, I have a vested interest in both our public school system and our community. Our school system should be the most important focus of this community, and it deserves support from everyone. An education system that we can be proud of ensures the success not just of the children in our community, but also of the community as a whole. I want my daughter and all of the children in this community to graduate from Warren County Public Schools with an education that prepares them for a successful future, whether that means joining the workforce, military, or attending college.
What is the biggest problem facing the School Board and how would you solve it?
The biggest problem facing the Warren County School Board will be the search for a new Superintendent of Schools. The hiring of a school superintendent is the most important task a school board performs. The search needs to be wide, and the application process needs to be comprehensive. The school board will need to keep the community informed as the process moves forward. A qualified applicant will need to not only meet the requirements for the job position, but should also take an active interest in our community. The new superintendent has to be the right fit for Warren County. Candidates for the position should not only meet with those involved directly with the school system, but also with community members and leaders within various organizations in our county. Our new superintendent should be ready to grow the strong ties between our schools and the community of Warren County.