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February is School Board Member Appreciation Month

Dozens of posters from schools across Prince William County hang in the School Board meeting room in the Kelly Leadership Center. The artwork, in celebration of School Board Appreciation Month, sings out praise and thanks to School Board members for their commitment of time and energy in service to the students and staff of our School Division.

Superintendent Steven L. Walts kicked off recognition of School Board Appreciation Month at the Board’s meeting on February 1. The theme of this year’s celebration, “Lead to Inspire,” reflects the top priority of local school board members as they advocate for public education with local, state, and federal leaders.

“Our School Board members deserve credit for the high quality of education that is provided to the students attending Prince William County Public Schools,” Walts was quoted as saying in a news release. “We could not do our jobs without the help, leadership, and the commitment of our dedicated School Board.”

As citizens who serve children and represent their communities, individual School Board members face complex and demanding challenges. Yet, few people fully understand the scope and far-reaching implications of board members’ responsibilities. All should recognize the vital contributions of these men and women and focus attention on the crucial role these elected public officials play in the education of our children. They make a difference for students.

The job of School Board members is to establish a vision for the education program, design a structure to achieve that vision, assure schools are accountable to the community, and strongly advocate continuous improvement in student learning. That job entails attending an endless string of meetings and school functions; reading and studying reams of reports, agendas, proposals, and other information; and making a host of difficult decisions.

“The hours spent in board meetings represents just a small fraction of the time School Board members devote to leading their districts. They also work hard at seminars and training sessions to keep abreast of the latest trends in educational leadership, are deeply involved in community activities, and spend many hours in the schools and at extracurricular events. Their love of learning, and concern and caring for students, staff, and the community, drive Board members’ desire to lead so students can achieve,” according to a news release from Prince William County Schools.

Prince William County’s School Board members are Chairman Ryan Sawyers; Vice Chairman Lillie Jessie (Occoquan); William Deutsch (Coles); Diane Raulston (Neabsco); Alyson Satterwhite (Gainesville); Shawn Brann, Acting Member for the Brentsville District (appointed); Justin David Wilk (Potomac); and Lorree Williams (Woodbridge). Board Member Gil Trenum (Brentsville District) is currently on military deployment.


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