Eight people are vying for one seat on Hanover County’s School Board.
The Mechanicsville district seat on the seven-member board expires June 30. Hanover is one of 16 localities in Virginia that appoints its school board members. There’s no public election; rather, board members are appointed by the county’s Board of Supervisors for four-year, staggered terms. The Mechanicsville supervisor is W. Canova Peterson.
Each individual publicly nominated themselves at the supervisors’ April 27 board meeting, or were nominated by someone else. A ninth nominee – Chris Cray – was nominated by another individual at that meeting, although Cray has since declined the nomination.
Each candidate will be interviewed by Peterson, and the full Board of Supervisors will vote on the appointment at its May 25 meeting. The Times-Dispatch asked each candidate a series of questions. Their responses began last Sunday. Today’s candidate is Kimberly Thurston.
WHO: Hanover resident Kimberly Thurston is a single mom to three children, ages 8 to 13, in Hanover schools.
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QUESTION: What compelled you to nominate yourself? What qualities would you bring to the Hanover County School Board?
THURSTON: I nominated myself because I wanted to see a parent with children in the school system on the board who is currently on the issues facing our schools, and who would also represent Hanover with respect, courtesy and dignity. I have worked tirelessly since my children started in Hanover schools to represent my district as a parent at meetings, volunteering in the classrooms and on committees. My students will be in the Hanover education system for years to come, and my family will live and work in the community that our students give back to once they have graduated.
QUESTION: What are the most pressing issues or challenges facing Hanover County schools? How would you address them?
THURSTON: The pressing issues facing Hanover Schools are continuing and improving the record of excellence Hanover is known for, keeping and rewarding our fine educators, and bullying prevention / consequences. Improving the quality education Hanover provides to their students is important to me as a single parent because I cannot afford to move my children to a more rigorous private school. Public education benefits all citizens. I will improve our quality education by helping form policies that allow teachers to teach quality curriculum that educates our students in what they need to succeed in the real world.
I will advocate for policies that discipline unruly students so other students can stay focused on tasks at hand, and advocate for salary improvements for our hardworking teachers during the budget process. I want to encourage parental involvement and transparency with curriculum, books, PTAs, PTSOs and booster clubs. I also see the possibility of refocusing educational opportunities to encourage traditional subjects and trades.