On Thursday, September 20, 2018, the Henrico County School Board will hold a public input session as part of the selection process to fill the Tuckahoe District seat that was vacated when Lisa Marshall resigned on August 22 due to health reasons. Three candidates have been selected as finalists: Melissa Dart, a special education advocate and health care administrator who was the Democratic candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates for the 56th District in 2017; blogger and former teacher Marcie Shea, who has support within the West Henrico Tea Party; and retired Lakeside Elementary School Principal Bill Pike, who is currently a church administrator.
The appointed member will serve on the School Board until a new member, elected in November 2019, assumes office in January 2020. Dart and Shea have indicated that they plan to seek the seat in next November’s general election.
You can have substantial influence on the the Board’s selection of an interim member by:
1) Attending the public input session on Thursday, September 20 at 4:00 p.m. at the New Bridge Learning Center auditorium, 5915 Nine Mile Road;
2) Submitting your letter of recommendation by September 20 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a two-time PTA president and parent of a third-generation HCPS student, here’s why I support Melissa Dart:
From the time that I first proposed to the School Board that they change the name of Harry Flood Byrd Middle School, to a year later when I watched the name “Quioccasin” go up on the front of the school, I got to do a great deal of observing. I observed the School Board itself, and I observed the constituents who came before the School Board each month. The common theme month after month, speaker after speaker, was that their constituents want to be heard and understood and empathized with.
They want to feel that after they have rushed to get dinner ready, or traded off carpools, or left work early to make the trip to the School Board meeting; after they have carefully crafted and timed and rehearsed the message they desperately need the Board to hear; after they have suppressed their extreme nervousness and fear of public speaking to stand in front of them and pour their hearts out, they want to feel that they have connected with their School Board representative and that their words have left an impression and have been taken to heart. They want to connect with the Board members as fellow parents, as fellow members of the Henrico community, and as fellow advocates for inclusive, outstanding public education.
Melissa Dart is a compassionate connector; she is the School Board member that the Tuckahoe District and Henrico County as a whole need to ensure the school system’s successful journey on the path to academic excellence and opportunity for all students.
As a member of the County’s Special Education Advisory Committee and ex-officio member of the Equity and Diversity Advisory Committee; as a Healthcare Administration professional; and as a parent of three children, Melissa is an experienced, patient, and empathetic advocate.
Melissa is also a bold and respected leader who does not shy away from confronting and addressing tough issues. In 2017 she ran for the Virginia House of Delegates, an experience she emerged from with the utmost respect of her community, and even more committed than ever to a life of service centering around the public education of our children.
Melissa is a keenly intelligent and intuitive problem-solver. She has made a great impression on friends, colleagues, and community members for her ability to quickly research, understand, analyze, and explain a wide variety of complex issues and policies in her quest for collaborative solutions.
If you are invested in Henrico County Public Schools’ strategic direction and want it to be shepherded by the intelligent, compassionate, and determined leadership that it deserves, please support Melissa’s candidacy by sending a letter of support to email@example.com by this Thursday, September 20, and by attending the School Board Public Input Session this Thursday, September 20 at 4:00 p.m. at the New Bridge Learning Center auditorium, 5915 Nine Mile Road.
While your presence at the meeting is an important show of support, citizens are also invited to speak about the vacancy at the hearing if they wish. Members of the public will have four minutes each to address the Board. You may sign up in advance to speak at the public hearing by contacting Debbie Ward, Clerk of the School Board, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 652-3808.