Newsletter 2022 Issue 9
Executive Director
Gina G. Patterson
The Virginia School Boards Association, along with twenty-one other founding school boards associations, signed a resolution to officially form the Consortium of State School Boards Associations (COSSBA) on April 10, 2022, in Raleigh, North Carolina. The states that are represented in COSSBA are: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Wyoming. Virginia is also part of COSSBA’s Transition Steering Committee (TSC), which temporarily serves as the governing body of COSSBA and is tasked with carefully crafting the foundational framework for the Consortium. Currently there are twenty-three members of COSSBA. Iowa joined after the organization had been founded.

Just like the VSBA, COSSBA is a voluntary, non-partisan organization. It is a national alliance of state school boards associations that strives to provide member-focused information that is powered and driven by shared commitment, resources, and responsibility. This consortium was founded by state school boards associations to support, promote, and strengthen each other as we serve our local school divisions and board members to ensure that they can provide excellence in local school board governance that results in access to high quality educational opportunities for all students.

There has already been great progress made by COSSBA during this year and planning is underway for professional development opportunities for all VSBA members to attend:
  • COSSBA Inaugural National Conference: March 30-April 2, 2023, in Tampa, FL (Pre-conference March 29) Register here
  • Urban Boards Alliance Symposium: August 24-25, 2023, in Chicago, IL
  • COSSBA Federal Advocacy Conference: September 5-7, 2023, in Washington, D.C.

These conferences will provide spaces for training and networking for school boards as well as association leaders to engage around issues that directly impact the work of governing public education. Additionally, COSSBA’s Urban Board Alliance (UBA) will provide a national program of training resources to equip school boards with requisite knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary to improve educational outcomes of students in challenging environments. Recognizing these environments exist, not only in urban school divisions but also within rural and suburban settings as well, amplifies the critical impacts to the success of these students in our schools. COSSBA and the twenty-two founding school boards associations (23 total) realize the need for a shared vision with the understanding that the challenges that our students face go beyond geography, race, or socioeconomic status. Empowering our students to excel and overcome these obstacles will require us to move forward in ways that are collectively responsive and transparent.

And with that, there is still much more work ahead. We will be relying heavily on the collaboration of our members in working together to share resources and talents. This is ultimately the role we have chosen to serve in and be held accountable to as we endeavor to promote excellence in public education through leadership, advocacy, and service. It has been inspiring to be on the ground floor of developing a national organization representing state school boards associations and local member school boards. I look forward to sharing more updates on our affiliate organization and encourage you to visit to find out more.

VSBA Extends Condolences on the Passing of Mecklenburg County School Board Member
The Virginia School Boards Association extends sincere condolences on the recent passing of Mecklenburg County School Board Member, Brent Richey.

Mr. Richey passed away on Monday, November 28, 2022. He was elected to represent the first district of Mecklenburg County in November 2015. Mr. Richey also worked at Southside Virginia Community College since 1991 as an Associate Professor of Mathematics on the Christanna Campus in Alberta, Virginia. He lived in Mecklenburg County for 26 years in the Palmer Springs area with his wife Kimberly and their three children who all attend Mecklenburg County Public Schools.

Please remember his family and loved ones during this difficult time as we honor his service to his community and public education in the Commonwealth.

2022 VSBA Annual Convention Highlights
School Board Members from all across the Commonwealth traveled to Williamsburg to attend the 2022 VSBA Annual Convention, November 16-18. Approximately 900 school governance leaders attended the convention, participating in more than 50 workshops, clinics and critical issue sessions focused on topics such as board governance, school law, schools in challenging environments, advocacy, and educational trends. This year’s convention allowed school board members, superintendents, and other attendees to gather in-person or participate virtually in the hybrid convention.

Attendees competed to collect the most secret words in order to be entered to win the Daily Door Prizes. In addition to door prizes and giveaways, many divisions earned awards throughout the convention. To view all of the press releases with more information you can visit the News Section of the VSBA website and the VSBA Flickr page to see more photos!
VSBA Take Your Legislator to School Month Recap
School Boards Across Virginia Host Legislators During 2022 “VSBA Take Your Legislator to School Month”
Governor Glenn Youngkin proclaimed November 2022 as “VSBA Take Your Legislator to School Month” and school divisions across the Commonwealth welcomed members of the Virginia General Assembly and locally elected public servants into their buildings. VSBA Take Your Legislator to School Month is designed to promote a closer relationship between public education and members of the Virginia General Assembly. VSBA urged each school division to invite their elected officials to visit schools during the month. The participation by local school divisions in this event was outstanding and VSBA is thrilled with all the pictures of legislators interacting with students, school board members, and school administrators that were shared. Below is a selection of the many successful visits and meetings that transpired during the month:
Lunenburg County Public Schools
Lunenburg County Public Schools hosted Senator Frank Ruff, Delegate Tommy Wright, and Delegate Otto Wachsmann. Also joining the event were Mike Hankins from the Board of Supervisors and County Administrator Tracy Gee. School Board Chair Kathy Coffee and School Board Members Ruby Ingram and Shannon Hinkle were also present.

The group visited all four schools in the division. At Lunenburg Middle School, STEM projects, 3D printing, and Hispanic Heritage Month were the focus. At Central High School, participants learned about the division’s unique aquaponics program, school-based enterprises, service-learning project, and other aspects of work-based learning. Participants enjoyed refreshments provided by the school-based enterprise, “The Bean Machine,” the CHS Coffee Shop for Staff.

At Victoria Elementary School, students took participants to various stations highlighting circuits and sound as well as other student projects and initiatives. At Kenbridge Elementary School, Student Council members took participants on a tour of the school and pointed out student projects displayed in the hallways.
Prince George County Public Schools
Prince George County Public Schools welcomed Virginia delegates Carrie Coyner and Emily Brewer to their division as part of the celebration of VSBA Take Your Legislator to School Month. The delegates started their morning by touring the division's newest campus, Middle Road Elementary School. With a tentative first day of school scheduled for mid-February 2023, Middle Road Elementary School will replace William A. Walton Elementary School, a campus that has faithfully served the division and community for over 50 years.

The delegates visited two of the district's schools during their morning in Prince George County. Del. Coyner visited William A. Walton Elementary School and Del. Brewer visited North Elementary. Both lawmakers spent time with students and staff at each campus, culminating in storybook reading sessions in several classes, who received gifts of coloring and other books to enjoy after their visits.
Manassas Park City Public Schools
Manassas Park City Public Schools welcomed members of their local governing body and Virginia Delegate Danica Roem to their division for the VSBA Take Your Legislator to School Month. Participants toured division schools and learned about programs and initiatives that are impacting the lives of students and families.
Petersburg City Public Schools
Senator Joe Morrissey, Delegate Kim Taylor, Virginia Secretary of Education Amie Guidera, and Virginia Deputy Secretary of Education Dr. McKenzie Snow visited Petersburg City Public Schools and toured Blandford Academy and Lakemont Elementary School as the division hosted VSBA Take Your Legislator to School Month. During the tour students discussed how the General Assembly works. Participants heard from students and learned about innovative programs that are underway in the school division.

Thank you to each school division that participated and shared stories and photos from Take Your Legislator to School Month 2022! These meetings provide context to legislators on the daily operation of our schools. We encourage you to continue to engage your legislative delegation throughout the year. More pictures are available on the VSBA Flickr page.

The 2023 session of the Virginia General Assembly convenes on January 11th! Make sure to check out the VSBA Legislative Update Blog and monitor VSBA on Facebook and Twitter daily for real time information from the General Assembly, as well as responding to any Legislative Action Alerts from the VSBA Government Relations team.
Help Us Celebrate School Boards and Clerks in February!
New Training Opportunity: Building Collaborative Fiscal Governance Teams to Improve Student Outcomes
Building Collaborative Fiscal Governance Teams to Improve Student Outcomes is the VSBA’s newly coordinated training opportunity. This program is focused on developing an understanding of the importance of collaboration between school finance and instructional leadership along with school division governance and administration to positively impact student outcomes.

The training will be conducted in a cohort group of participating school divisions that include the school board chair or vice-chair, superintendent, chief finance officer, chief academic officer, or other school administrators seeking to strengthen their role as part of a collaborative fiscal governance team. 

Facilitators will guide the teams through activities and discussions in the following sessions: 

  • Session I: School Governance for Effective Finance and Instructional Decision-Making 
  • Session II: Teaching and Learning 101 
  • Session III: School Finance 101 
  • Session IV: Putting it All Together: Frameworks for Fiscal Collaboration and Student Success

Training begins in March 2023 and a commitment to all four sessions is required. If you’re ready to get ahead of the game for the 2023 budget season, contact Tom Brewster at for additional information or to sign up today!! Spaces are limited and the cohort will be finalized in early January. 
Congratulations to the VSBA Exhibitors Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to this year's Exhibitor Scholarship winners! We asked all three recipients what receiving the scholarship award meant to them:
“College places financial stress on all families and having the chance to lessen my future debt helps to ease the stress about the future. I want to be able to achieve my dream of becoming a physical therapist and that requires six years of schooling so every bit helps so I can focus on my career.”
 -- Madeline Hatok, Poquoson High School, Poquoson City Public Schools
“As a first-generation student, education has become a central part of my identity. I have always felt what other first-gen students have felt– that feeling of being behind other classmates with parents who could always help them – yet, I have focused my energy on overcoming those obstacles to enter college in the future. My time as student representative and my personal experiences have increased my interest in government, public policy, and access to education. This scholarship can help alleviate essential costs in college so I will be able to take up political internships and pursue my educational goals. Receiving this scholarship means a lot to me and I am grateful that the Virginia School Boards Association is supporting my endeavors towards a higher education.”
-- Daania Sharifi, Gainesville High School, Prince William County Public Schools
“Receiving the VSBA Scholarship is a special honor, and I am very grateful to have been chosen for it. It serves as the acknowledgement of my efforts in student advocacy and encourages me to continue to try to help and represent my community in matters that are relevant and important. I am currently considering pursuing either a law or business degree and with the funds from this scholarship, I will have a greater ability to further my education, no matter which career path I eventually choose.” 
-- Alexander Peskin, Goochland High School, Goochland County Public Schools
Thank you to this year's sponsors: Gold- ABM Building, Optima Health, VMDO Architects; Silver- Southwest Food Service Excellence, MBP, MFM Industries, HES Facilities Management, Howard Shockey & Sons Inc., Fev Tutor, and Branch Builds!
J.T. Kessler, Director Legislative Services
2022 VSBA Delegate Assembly Update
The Virginia School Boards Association held its 2022 Delegate Assembly virtually on Thursday, November 10th. Delegates from across the Commonwealth met to discuss and consider twelve new or amended legislative proposals. The proposals were provided to every school board member in the Delegate Assembly Handbook which was sent via email on September 23, 2022.

VSBA President Teddy D. Martin, II called the meeting to order and led the assembly through the approval of the minutes from the 2021 Delegate Assembly, the report of the nominating committee, and delivered the President’s report recapping the association’s highlights during the past year. The meeting proceeded with President Martin reviewing the twelve new or amended legislative proposals.

• Proposal 1: Amendment to current Legislative Position 1.2
• Proposal 2: Amendment to current Legislative Position 1.3
• Proposal 3: Amendment to current Legislative Position 3.1
• Proposal 4: Amendment to current Legislative Position 6.8
• Proposal 5: Amendment to current Legislative Position 8.1
• Proposal 6: Amendment to current Legislative Position 9.1
• Proposal 7: Amendment to current Legislative Position 10.4
• Proposal 8: Amendment to current Legislative Position 11.1
• Proposal 9: Amendment to current Legislative Position 12.1
• Proposal 10: Amendment to current Legislative Position 12.10
• Proposal 11: New Legislative Position 4.27
• Proposal 12: Removal of current Legislative Position 7.2

Delegates voted to approve proposals 1, 8, and 9 as a block and heard spirited discussion on proposals 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, and 12. Pursuant to the Rules of Procedure for the virtual assembly, school divisions were able to request proposals to be removed from the block prior to the meeting. Delegates voted to approve each proposal removed from the block.

The approved proposals will be included in the 2023 VSBA Legislative Positions Handbook. This handbook will be shared with school board members in mid-December. To view the current VSBA Legislative Positions Handbook click here. The Association's lobbying efforts are based on positions contained in the VSBA Legislative Positions Handbook that is approved each year by the VSBA Delegate Assembly. Local school boards are not bound to this handbook and can adopt local positions on legislation and policy.

The final order of business was for delegates to approve a minor change to the VSBA Bylaws. This change was adopted by the assembly.

Before adjourning the assembly, President Martin welcomed 2023 President-Elect David R. Woodard of Tazewell County to the meeting and allowed him the opportunity to bring greetings to the Delegates. President Martin informed delegates that President-Elect Woodard would be officially installed as VSBA President on Friday during the convention. Following the introduction, President Martin adjourned the 2022 VSBA Virtual Delegate Assembly.
The Portsmouth Public Schools Show Choir Gives a Behind the Scenes Look at their Experience Performing at the 2022 VSBA Annual Convention
On Friday, November 18, the Portsmouth City Public Schools Show Choir gave an inspiring performance to close out the 2022 VSBA Annual Convention. The video below gives a behind the scenes look at their preparation and experience.
In each newsletter, VSBA will spotlight a recent initiative or best practice taking place in a school division in Virginia. If you have a story you would like to submit for inclusion in the spotlight section of the VSBA newsletter, please email it to with the subject: Division Spotlight and your school division's name. Pictures and a link to the story on your division/school's website should also be included with the submission..
U.S. Supreme Court Denies Certioriari in Title IX case
As you may be aware, VSBA previously participated as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in Fairfax County School Board v. Doe, a Title IX case involving a claim of peer-on-peer sexual harassment under Title IX. VSBA’s most recent involvement was supporting the school board’s request that the U.S. Supreme Court grant certioriari to review the Fourth Circuit’s decision in the case. The Supreme Court has decided not to review the case. As is the Court’s regular practice, no explanation for that decision was given.
News and Tidbits From Across the Country
Protecting Your District Online

PHOTO CREDIT: JAMES THEW/STOCK.ADOBE.COM The internet was a lifeline for school districts during the pandemic. Online education allowed districts to continue to function when health concerns of students and staff prevented in-person learning.

Read more
How 11th Graders Can Prep for College Over Winter Break

For high schoolers, holiday breaks can be a time to binge watch Netflix, shop holiday sales and celebrate with family and friends. But experts say there are plenty of other ways high school juniors can make good use of their holiday break.

Read more
How One High School Teacher Builds Vocabulary, and...

It's the time of the year when "best of's" and "favorites" begin to make headlines, crowd inboxes, and dominate playlists. Even popular vocabulary words are getting their due. Merriam-Webster just announced "gaslighting" as its 2022 Word of the Year.

Read more
VSBA Affiliate Member Profiles
In each issue of the VSBA newsletter, we will feature three VSBA Affiliate Members.
Thank you for your support of the VSBA and Virginia's public education system.
Architectural, Engineering and Planning Services for Learning Environments.

Derk Jeffrey  
Phone: (571) 235-2562
Providing property, liability, student accident, workers’ compensation, school security risk management and related insurance services for school divisions.

Lee Brannon  
Phone: (540) 986-2705
Education Solutions Services (ESS)
Committed to providing staffing solutions for substitute teachers and administrative staff.

Robbie Nelson   
Phone: (407) 902-8026
Visit for a complete list of VSBA's Affiliate Members.
January 30-31, 2023 – Capital Conference *Now Open to Student School Board Representatives!*
Board members and superintendents annually meet when the General Assembly is in session to be briefed on education issues before the General Assembly and to learn effective lobbying techniques. This conference provides participants with the opportunity to be personally involved in the legislative process. 

Location: Virtual or Downtown Richmond Marriott: 500 E. Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219
Cost: $250 per registration
There are few elected/appointed positions as important to the future of our communities as a school board member. As election season wraps up and new educational leaders prepare to take their seats on school boards across the state, VSBA is here to help them become the best board member they can be. This year, the association is excited for the New Board Member Orientation trainings that will focus on the legal aspects of being a school board member, along with the key areas of work that school boards influence. New school board members are encouraged to attend with a mentor school board member along with the superintendent to provide the local context for the content that will be shared. Full day, in-person session will take place on January 31, 2023 at the Marriott Hotel in Downtown Richmond. There will also be an online version for those that can’t make it in person.

Location: Downtown Richmond Marriott: 500 E. Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219
Cost: $235 per registration
Are you a newly selected Chair or Vice-Chair? Have you been in the position but still feel like you could be more efficient, or garner a better understanding of your position and all it entails? Well if your answer to either of these questions is yes, have you registered for the VSBA Orientation for Chair and Vice-Chair yet?

As Chair or Vice-Chair of your board, we encourage you to take advantage of this informative session. The meeting features experts in many topics whose presentations have been designed to help you seamlessly navigate your position and responsibilities. From media relationships to superintendent relationships, this orientation has you covered. Learn more about parliamentary procedure and attorney client matters. You will also hear from a panel of your peers on their experiences and how to navigate some of the challenges that you may face taking on your new role with the school board.

Location: Downtown Richmond Marriott: 500 E. Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219
Cost: $235 per registration
Join school board members and education leaders from across the country at COSSBA's inaugural national conference for training and networking opportunities to engage around issues that directly impact the work of governing public education.

Location: Tampa, FL
Cost: Early Bird Discount - $549, Cost after January 28, 2023 - $599
200 Hansen Road, Charlottesville, VA 22911
Tel: 434-295-8722 Fax: 434-295-8785