Norfolk school board nominees

Norfolk is the only city in Hampton Roads that does not elect its school board. The city council appoints the members. Last Tuesday, council accepted eleven nominations for the two available seats. One seat became open with the election of chairperson Theresa W. Whibley to the council. The other seat is currently occupied by school board vice-chairperson Ursula D. Rhodes, who is among the 11 nominees.

The other ten are Brenda P. Barrow, a former teacher; Susan Colpitts, chairwoman of the Virginia Symphony’s board; Sally Hartman, director of communications, Norfolk Foundation ; Donne Jones, human resources analyst; Linda McCluney, dean of academic affairs, Joint Forces Staff College; Daniel Montague, Sherwood Forest Civic League president and former mayoral candidate; Craig Reilly, former president of Colonial Place/Riverview Civic League; Dana Rosen, lawyer; Lynn Simmons, lawyer; and Steve Tonelson, ODU education professor.

Council will make their decision by the end of the month. The other members of the Norfolk School Board are Barry C. Bishop, George W. Cook, Jr., James T. Driggers, Lillian P. Wright, and Wilson B. Dodson III. Members are appointed for a 2-year term.

5 thoughts on “Norfolk school board nominees

  1. I know it’s odd to say this, but I’ve often wondered this. If a school board doesn’t have taxing authority, why do they need to be elected?

    I know the “accountability” argument, if it’s “no taxation without representation” shouldn’t it be “no representation without taxation”?

    It’s murder for school board candidates to raise money, and the self-financed or well-connected, the ones who would’ve been appointed, win anyway.

  2. Even though they lack taxing authority here in Virginia (not the case in other areas), I prefer an elected school board. Not only are the members accountable, but it also takes away some of the power of council and returns it to the people. Was Pat Edmondson well-enough connected to have been appointed to the school board? I don’t know, as I didn’t pay that much attention to the VB races. What I do know – in looking at the nomination list – is that I can just about predict who the two appointees will be. Could they win an election? Maybe. But I’d love to find out for sure.

    Oh – and for local campaigns, I’d like to see some kind of public financing or spending caps or both. There are some fine people out there who don’t have their own money or access to money that don’t run for office.

  3. Vivian, I was surprised to learn this, and I couldn’t agree with you more. One point–a candidate who works very hard to get elected to the School Board is also likely to work hard ON THE SCHOOL BOARD. I think this is egregious for a city the size of Norfolk.

  4. There has been talk in the past of an elected school board. IIRC, there were even some petitions going around at one point. However, getting a referendum on the ballot in Norfolk is virtually impossible. See this post. The Norfolk city charter would have to be changed and there is simply no incentive to do so.

    EDIT: Here's some info from 1995 on the failed petition.

  5. No, Pat was not a “well-connected” person. She was an individual with a desire to serve her community in a capacity that was appropriate for her experience and education. It would have taken years for her to cultivate the connections to get appointed. She ran a hard and effective race. The same way I believe she will serve the School Board. Elections are still the best guage of who really wants the job.

Comments are closed.