The Warren County School Board chairman presided over his last meeting on Wednesday before he steps down.
Arnold M. Williams Jr. announced he needs to resign because he plans to move out of the North River Magisterial District, which he represents on the board. However, his current four-year term does not expire until Dec. 31, 2023. The board members must appoint Williams’ replacement to serve his district until the county can hold an election in which voters would elect someone to fill out the rest of the unexpired term.
Williams made a statement about his resignation.
“I can say I’ve truly appreciated everybody I’ve worked with on the board, in the central office, outside our walls with the public,” Williams said. “It’s been eye-opening. It’s been a pleasure. Sometimes it’s been tough. But, you know? That’s just part of it.”
Williams wished fellow board members and Superintendent Christopher Ballenger the best and added that he knows they will continue to carry the school division forward.
The board faces more changes to its membership. Longtime board members James S. Wells and Vice Chairwoman Catherine R. Bower do not plan to run for another four-year term. Bower and Wells represent the Fork and Happy Creek magisterial districts. Their terms end Dec. 31.
Williams made his announcement roughly a week after the filing deadline to run in the November election for the school board.
Also at the meeting, the board voted to appoint Randa Vernazza as principal of non-traditional programs effective July 1. Vernazza has worked in education for 17 years and serves as assistant principal at Warren County High School.
The board also appointed George “Buck” Smith Jr. as assistant superintendent for administration effective July 1. Smith, currently the director of personnel, succeeds Melody Sheppard who has taken the job of superintendent for Shenandoah County Public Schools.
Also at the meeting, board members voted to:
* Approve the Warren County Public Schools Virtual Academy and the associated handbook beginning with the 2021-2022 school year.
* Approve the addition of $5,000 stipends for the elementary and secondary virtual academy coordinators effective July 1.
* Accept a $240 donation from Stacy Swain to the Skyline Middle School FFA program.
* Add one third-, fourth- and fifth-grade teaching position to provide instruction for elementary students participating in the virtual academy.
* Approve 2021-2022 Title I, II, III and IV grants for submission to the Virginia Department of Education.
The board also approved the purchase of:
* Levels 1-4 Spanish textbooks for $53,693.
* Units 1-3 American Cambridge Latin textbooks for $8,011.
* Stem-Scopes middle school textbooks, earth science, astronomy and advanced placement environmental science textbooks for $266,488.
* MasteryConnect for $41,775 as the division’s competency-based learning and assessment platform for the 2021-2022 school year.
The School Board met in closed session to discuss a personnel matter.