LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. — After months of controversy and protests, a school district thrust into the national spotlight has more changes coming its way, as Loudoun County Public Schools prepares to fill a vacant seat on the board.
Thirteen people are vying for the interim Leesburg District School Board seat that was left vacant when former school member Beth Barts resigned in November. Whoever is appointed by the school board will serve until Dec. 31, 2022.
Competing for the position are 13 people that range from a current educator, recent college graduate, former LCPS school board member and several parents among others.
“I believe that children are most successful when the ties between school and community are strong, and I plan to show that," Lauren Shernoff, LCPS school board candidate and educator said.
Shernoff was one of many people making their final pitch to the school board during Tuesday's final public hearing.
“If selected to this role I want to focus on a continuity of goals," school board candidate and recent college graduate Stephen Cypher said. "I don’t think we’re here to rock the boat. I don’t think it’s my job or role to really introduce groundbreaking ideas. I think it’s important to realize the work Ms. Barts has done and improve on it along with you all as a team.”
Candidates shared not only their plans if appointed to the school board, but a board member also asked the applicants the issues they disagreed with the board on.
“I think the biggest failure is the board’s own willingness to exercise their political power to give parents the option to opt-out of the mask mandate," candidate Colin Doniger said. "It's easy to surrender the ability to make decisions to the public health machine but the school board is empowered to make those calls, not the CDC not the Virginia Department of Health. A recommendation or guideline should be exactly that."
Additionally, several members running for the interim seat are LCPS parents who previously protested decisions spearheaded by the school board.
The school board will announce its appointment during the Dec. 14 meeting.