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'He's not qualified per our own criteria' | Board member speaks out on new Spotsylvania superintendent

A new school board majority has hired a superintendent with no background in education and ties to the board chair.

SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. — The controversial pick for school superintendent in Spotsylvania County has signed a contract for the job despite no background in education

A spokesman for the school board told WUSA9 Mark Taylor signed the contract for $245,000 per year. That's $30,000 more than his predecessor was paid, with nearly four years of pay guaranteed.

"I have cried over this situation more times than I can count," said Dawn Shelley, who is the longest serving current member and former chair of the Spotsylvania County school board.

But lately, she is on the losing end of just about every important vote.

"We have had a divided board before, but it was never like this," Shelley said.

The four-member majority gained control at the beginning of the year, and promptly fired the former superintendent.

"We had schools that were winning national awards. He won awards and their first meeting they fired him with no cause," Shelley said.

Now, the board has apparently hired Greene County administrator Mark Taylor to be the divisions superintendent. 

A spokesman for the school board told WUSA9 Taylor signed a contract for $245,000 per year. That's $30,000 more than his predecessor was paid, with nearly four years of pay guaranteed.

Taylor has close ties to the board chairman Kirk Twigg. The Virginia State Corporation Commission lists Taylor and his wife as directors of the non-profit Emerging Stars, founded Twigg and his wife.

"He's not qualified per our own criteria," said Shelley of Taylor. "The majority does not support public schools or Spotsylvania kids."

Shelley said she believes the four members of the school board's majority are actively working to dismantle the division. 

"The war on public education is real and it's happening in Spotsylvania," she said. "They want to ruin it."

Taylor and the board chairman have not responded to requests for comment.

Shelley and at least one other board member said they plan to contest the validity of the contract because of how the board approved it. 

Shelley said she has also reported board chair Twigg to state authorities for allegedly changing a contract to pay another hire without board consent.

"I do it for our kids. I do it for our staff," she said of her service on the school board. "Somebody has to protect them."

RELATED: Daughter of Spotsylvania superintendent candidate Mark Taylor says he is 'beyond under-qualified'

RELATED: 'Insulting' | Parents, teachers angry after Spotsylvania School Board selects man with no education experience to be new superintendent

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