From the President’s Desk
Dear Fellow School Board Members,
As quickly as summer break started, here we go again, preparing for another school year. I thank each of you for your dedication to our students and Virginia public education year-round. Speaking of that dedication, I want to take a moment to recognize the sudden passing of one of my local board members, Mr. Francis Zehr of Henry County. Mr. Zehr served as a public school teacher for more than 30 years as well as a member of the Board of Supervisors for 16 years and the School Board for the past 11 years. He’s the only member to have been elected to Chair both boards. I would not have become your President without his support and mentorship. I hope you all are as blessed to have colleagues as good as Mr. Zehr was to me. In his honor, when you can, please take a moment to do some small act of kindness for each other.
It was great to see many of you at the 37th Annual VSBA Conference on Education. We were glad to have State Superintendent Jillian Balow, Secretary of Education Aimee Rogstad Guidera, and Board of Education President Dan Gecker bring greetings. Daphne Fulson, 2022 Virginia Teacher of the Year from Chesapeake Public Schools, was a delight that we all look forward to hearing more. The mini-workshop sessions were amazing, and I hope everyone was able to take lessons back to their divisions to implement the best possible education Virginia public schools have to offer to all. We closed with keynote speaker Dr. Noal Cochran, who brought even more humor than I to the proceedings.
We were able to recognize winners of the Student Essay Contest sponsored by Joan Wodiska, Food for Thought Awards sponsored by ABM, and Excellence in Workforce Readiness Awards sponsored by VACORP. Congratulations to all; your programs were truly inspirational. I cannot say how much it meant to be able to recognize the student essay contest winners and their families. Thank you to Past President Joan Wodiska for her sponsorship and for joining us for the presentations.
As always, I must thank Gina Patterson, our Executive Director, and the VSBA staff for a well-run conference and their support of us all. As Gina discusses in greater detail in her letter, VSBA has been quite active in the launch of the Consortium of State School Boards Associations (COSSBA). We are excited by this partnership and the opportunities for all arising from Virginia serving as a leader.
I hope to see everyone at the VSBA Legislative Advocacy Conference on September 22nd at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Charlottesville. We look forward to hearing from great speakers such as the Honorable Delegate Carrie Coyner, Deputy Secretary for Cybersecurity Aliscia Andrews, and more as we prepare for the upcoming General Assembly session and learn more on new cybersecurity reporting requirements, the Virginia Literacy Act, and FOIA training. We also have many great webinars and the legendary Annual Convention this November in Williamsburg now available for registration.
I thank you again for the opportunity to serve as your President. As always, please feel free to contact me if I may assist you.
Teddy D. Martin II