Newsletter 2024 Issue 4
Gina G. Patterson
Executive Director
From the Executive Director
As your Executive Director, it is imperative for me to address some misconceptions surrounding the compliance-based policy services provided by the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA). It has come to my attention that there may be some confusion regarding the nature of our sample policies and the flexibility they offer to individual boards.

First and foremost, I want to emphasize that when you subscribe to our compliance-based policy services, you are not simply adopting a one-size-fits-all approach. Rather, VSBA provides sample policies that are meticulously crafted by attorneys to ensure compliance with federal and state laws and regulations. These samples serve as a foundation upon which each board can build policies tailored to their specific needs and circumstances.

It is crucial to understand that the key word here is "sample." These policies are not rigid templates, but rather starting points designed to guide boards in creating policies that align with their division's requirements and comply with the law. At VSBA, we firmly believe in the principle of local control, recognizing that each board is best equipped to determine the policies that serve the interests of their community.

VSBA School Board News Podcast
Episode 61: Media Relations for School Boards
Listen to Episode 61 of the Virginia School Board News Podcast. In this episode, VSBA Executive Director Gina Patterson is joined by Barbara Hunter, Executive Director of the National School Public Relations Association. Gina and Barbara discuss tips to help school board members effectively communicate with the media.

*** Do you have a governance question or situation that you would like to see answered in an upcoming article? Send in your questions to and you may see the topic in a future newsletter article. ***
Dive into enlightenment and collaboration at the VSBA 2024 School Law Conference!
Join us on Friday, May 31, in Richmond for a day of enriching insights and connections that promise to invigorate your approach to education law, whether you choose to attend virtually or in person.

Our speakers will deliver dynamic discussions on pressing topics in education law, tailored for legal professionals, school board members, and policymakers.

Discover the power of Attorney-Client Privilege and independent investigation reports with John Foster and Ellen Kennedy, legal counsel from Fairfax County Public Schools.

Explore the transformative potential of Generative AI in learning, governance, and practice with Jeremy Hurley of Appalachian School of Law and Nachman Gutowski of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Unlock the essentials of FOIA and COIA training requirements with Lesley Rigney and Elizabeth Ewing, Directors of Policy and Legal Services at VSBA.

Navigate the intricate landscape of social media use in School Board contexts versus personal accounts with attorney Andrew Selman of Sands Anderson.

Stay ahead of the curve with a Legislative Update from J.T. Kessler, VSBA Director of Legislative Services, and Stacy Haney, VSBA Chief Lobbyist, providing invaluable insights into the latest legislative developments.

Cap off the day with networking over lunch, fostering connections and conversations that will extend far beyond the conference room.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to connect, learn, and contribute to the ongoing dialogue shaping education law.
VSBA President's Roadshow
From Dr. Cardell Patillo:

I'm thrilled to share that since the end of April, I've embarked on four more stops of the President’s Roadshow. A heartfelt thank you goes out to Hopewell City, Petersburg City, Buckingham County, and Prince William County for graciously welcoming me to your school board meetings and allowing me to explore your outstanding school facilities.

Unfortunately, due to a family emergency, I had to cancel my visit to Campbell County. However, I am eagerly looking forward to rescheduling this visit in the near future.

Each visit has been incredibly rewarding, offering me valuable insights into the diverse educational landscapes across our state. Witnessing firsthand the countless opportunities provided to students within your school divisions has been truly inspiring.

As the Roadshow continues, I eagerly anticipate further engagements with more of our esteemed members. If your school division would like to participate in the Roadshow, whether through hosting a school board meeting or offering a tour of your facilities, please don't hesitate to reach out to Samantha Bosserman, VSBA Deputy Executive Director, at

Let's continue this journey together, shaping the future of education in Virginia one visit at a time.

Warm regards,

Dr. Cardell Patillo, Jr.
VSBA President
December 14, 2023 - Staunton City
February 1, 2024 - Charlottesville City
February 8, 2024 - Suffolk City
February 12, 2024 - Spotsylvania County
February 20, 2024 - Mathews County
March 8, 2024 - Caroline County
March 29, 2024 - Fredericksburg City
April 25, 2024 - Isle of Wight County
April 30, 2024 - Wise County
May 9, 2024 - Hopewell City
May 10, 2024 - Petersburg City
May 14, 2024 - Buckingham County
May 15, 2024 - Prince William County
May 24, 2024 - Surry County
August 13, 2024 - Roanoke City
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The Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) released its 28th annual VSBA Showcases for Success directory, highlighting successful K-12 programs in Virginia's public schools. This year, 92 programs are included in the directory from 43 school divisions across the Commonwealth.

In addition to the directory, the VSBA created a Special Edition Newsletter featuring 12 of these programs, representing each region of the Commonwealth. The following counties and cities are featured: Amherst County, Danville City, Frederick County, Galax City, Henrico County, King & Queen County, Madison County, Prince William County, Pulaski County, Roanoke County, Stafford County, and Virginia Beach City.
J.T. Kessler
Director of Legislative Services
General Assembly, Governor Youngkin
Reach Budget Compromise
The Virginia General Assembly met in Special Session on Monday, May 13, 2024, for the purpose of adopting the 2024 -2026 Biennium Budget. After weeks of negotiations between Senate and House budget writers and Governor Glenn Youngkin, lawmakers maintained the two-year funding levels that were included in the Conference Report adopted by the General Assembly in March. According to a presentation from the House Appropriations Committee staff, lawmakers were able to maintain funding levels found in the Conference Report because revenue collections for fiscal 2024 “are running well ahead of forecast."

The plan adopted with overwhelming support in each legislative chamber was signed into law by Governor Youngkin on Monday afternoon and will become the Commonwealth’s two-year spending plan from July 1, 2024, through June 30, 2026. Lawmakers will address revisions to the budget when they convene for the short session of the General Assembly next January in Richmond.

To review the entire 2024 – 2026 Biennial Budget, please click here. If you have any questions regarding the two-year spending plan, please contact me at or by calling the VSBA offices at 434-295-8722 Ext. 116.

VSBA Board of Directors Retreat: Fostering Unity and Engagement
In April, the VSBA Board of Directors gathered for a state-level retreat to discuss the business of the association and the responsibilities of serving on the state board. The retreat was a dynamic blend of strategic planning, visionary discussions, and a deep dive into how the board can ensure all members statewide feel connected and valued. Key topics included enhancing communication and highlighting the diverse benefits of VSBA membership. The board is dedicated to fostering a sense of community and belonging among all members, reinforcing the association's commitment to serving and supporting school board members across the state.
7 Questions Every School Board Should Ask the Superintendent
Invariably, high-performing school boards have a great relationship with the superintendent. That doesn’t mean they rubber stamp whatever the superintendent proposes or that they value harmony more than candor.

Rather, there is a shared vision and a spirit of enterprise. Good school boards ask pertinent and illuminating questions, and superintendents welcome this as long as it is done in a collegial and constructive way (not as a “gotcha”).

It’s the responsibility of school board members to focus on the right things, however. Here are seven questions every school board should be asking:

1. What data are we collecting to assess the effectiveness of the program or effort that we are talking about? Data-driven decision making is essential for continuous improvement. Board members should inquire about the collection and analysis of data related to student performance, program outcomes and stakeholder feedback, then use this information to inform their decision making process.
2. What steps are being taken to recruit, retain and support high-quality educators? The teacher shortage is real, and many teachers are handling classes outside of their tenure areas. School boards should ask about district recruitment efforts, professional development opportunities and support systems for teachers to ensure a high standard of instruction.
3. How are we supporting the social and emotional well-being of students? More than four in 10 high school students felt so sad or hopeless almost every day for at least two weeks in a row that they stopped doing their usual activities, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet young people are incredibly resilient and are capable of becoming whatever they can imagine. Board members should inquire about programs and services that address student mental health, social-emotional learning and student support systems.
4. What strategies are in place to address student achievement gaps and improve outcomes for all learners? The state 4-year graduation rate dropped a percentage point from last year, and U.S. math and reading scores are dropping, according to the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress. Addressing literacy and numeracy must be a top priority of all school boards. Board members should inquire about initiatives that address improving graduation rates, closing achievement gaps and ensuring college and career readiness.
5. How are we leveraging technology to enhance teaching and learning? Technology plays a crucial role in modern education. Board members should inquire about the integration of technology into the curriculum, access to digital resources, and professional development for educators to effectively use technology in the classroom.
6. What are our students eating? A growing body of research suggests that diet (especially breakfast) can affect academic achievement and student behavior. And we know that diet can affect health. School leaders ought to be concerned that one in five of those ages two to 19 have obesity, and the chance a young person will develop type 2 diabetes is about one in three. Let’s be sure that school meals are as healthy as possible and that students learn about the importance of healthy nutrition.
7. What should we be celebrating? The best antidote to the negativity that permeates discussion of public education is sharing information about successes. After all, these successes are the return on the investment our communities make in our schools. Superintendents need to keep school board members aware of the district’s achievements, innovations and initiatives. Board members can provide recognition in meetings, on social media and in their interactions with constituents. Generally, superintendents value the opportunity to understand what concerns the board, explain their educational strategies, get feedback (and buy-in) and then move forward as a team. Such conversations will enable school board members to be able to answer constituents’ questions with confidence and clarity.
Written by Mark Snyder, Senior Leadership Development Manager at the New York State School Boards Association. This article originally appeared in slightly different form in the April 8 issue of NYSSBA's newspaper, On Board.
Reprinted with permission.
The VSBA Staff and members of the Board of Directors had the opportunity to attend all nine Regional Networking Forums this Spring. Thank you to the host divisions and the Regional Chairs for coordinating these events. Each meeting featured a student art contest, featured student performances, and student-driven Culinary Arts programs to showcase student success in the region. Below you will find a summary with highlights from each meeting.
Eastern Region, March 5
The Eastern Regional meeting took place at Westmoreland High School. The evening featured a presentation from Matthew Ingram from the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors who spoke on Finding Common Ground between county supervisors and educators.
Southside Region, March 7
Petersburg City hosted this year's Southside Regional meeting at Brightpoint Community College. Dr. Bill Feige was the evening's speaker and he explained to attendees how fostering enhanced collaboration between school divisions and community colleges is pivotal.
Central Region, March 12
Attendees gathered at the Culpeper Technical Education Center in Culpeper County Public Schools for this year's Central Regional meeting. The evening featured Brenda Byard and Dr. Keyanna Hawkins, who discussed the Future Educators Academy, a New Generation Lab School.
Southern Region, March 13
This year, Appomattox County High School hosted the Southern Regional meeting. The evening featured "Southern Style Success Stories" from school divisions around the region. Student entertainment included a performance from the high school's concert band.
Blue Ridge Region, April 17
Alleghany Highlands hosted this year's Blue Ridge Regional meeting. Chef Dan Guisti was the evening's speaker. Chef Guisti spoke on the relationship between good food and fostering a better learning environment for student achievement.

Valley Region, April 18
This year's Valley Regional meeting was hosted by Winchester Public Schools. Attendees heard an inspiring presentation from Ryan Sykes, Chief Operating Officer for Building Our Youth LLC on Making it P.O.P!, a dynamic equation that propels individuals to meet their goals.
Tidewater Region, April 25
The Tidewater Regional meeting was hosted by Portsmouth Public Schools at I.C. Norcom High School. Neil Morgan, a retired York County Administrator was the evening's speaker. He spoke on the importance of fostering a strong partnership between a public school system and the local government.
Southwest Region, April 30
Washington County Schools hosted this year's Southwest Regional Meeting. The evening featured a 2024 Post Session Legislative Forum with panelists Virginia Senator Travis Hackworth, Virginia Delegate Terry Kilgore, and Virginia Delegate Israel O'Quinn.

Northeastern Region, May 8
Attendees gathered in Fredericksburg City Public Schools for this year's Northeastern Regional Meeting. The evening featured a discussion on Finding Common Ground with Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Lisa Coons, and Dr. Melanie Kay-Wyatt, Superintendent for Alexandria City Schools.
Samantha Bosserman
Deputy Executive Director
Agree to Disagree, Agreeably
During board training, we often discuss the phrase “agree to disagree, agreeably,” but what exactly does that mean? School boards are in the unique position to make important decisions that affect all aspects of the school division and many pieces of the broader community. School board members may not always agree on how to make these important decisions and the way in which you disagree matters.

Each school board member brings a diversity of thoughts, experiences, and values to the board room. These differences allow for a multifaceted view of issues and situations, and for structured debate on solutions to problems. Boards are not meant to agree on everything put before them at all times- otherwise, what would be the need for more than one board member? Everyone comes to the board table with different perspectives and different experiences. The key though, is how the board responds to disagreements and differences of opinion.

The idea of disagreeing agreeably is not a new concept. For years, individuals have had disagreements on many issues, it just seems that in the current era, these disagreements have turned disagreeable. It is always important to remember that there is a human sitting next to you in the boardroom. They may come from a different set of values or beliefs than you do or have different areas of expertise than you do- but neither of these mean that you cannot come to an agreement for the betterment of the students in your school division. If an agreement cannot be made, the disagreement should remain respectful.

2024 VSBA Fiscal Governance Cohort Program
On Tuesday, May 21, the VSBA completed its second annual Fiscal Governance Training Program, which saw board members and staff representing five schools come together in small groups to enhance their knowledge of governance, school finance, teaching and learning, budget management, and communication.

The program included four training sessions that focused on the successful integration of school finance, instructional leadership, school division governance, and administration to improve student outcomes.

Congratulations to Brunswick County Public Schools, Fredericksburg City Public Schools, Greensville County Public Schools, Lunenburg County Public Schools, and Newport News City Public Schools for successfully completing this training!
2024 VSBA Business Honor Roll
Local businesses have the power to shape community attitudes, especially as schools face increasing budget uncertainty. The Business Honor Roll helps divisions say “thank you” for their vital contributions. Congratulations to the following businesses that were recognized.
Alexandria City
Alexandria Toyota
HomeGrown Restaurant Group
Tartan Properties

Alleghany Highlands
Alcova Mortgage
Driven Designs
Image Express

Botetourt County
Altec Industries
MAAG Gala, Inc.
Tyler Painter/Virginia Cooperative Extension

Caroline County
Fredericksburg Food Bank
NSWC Dahlgren
Warrior’s Heart

Carroll County
Tri-Area Community Health

Chesterfield County
Bon Secours
Feinstein 360 Orthodontics

Culpeper County
Career Partners, Inc.
Dalrymple Companies
I & L’s DJing and Event Production

Cumberland County
Cumberland Coffee Company

Danville City
American National Bank & Trust Company
SOVAH Health

Dinwiddie County
Old Hickory Farms, Inc.
Slade and Sons Construction
Todd Williams, Contractor

Fairfax County
Giant Pharmacy
Greater DC Diaper Bank
Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

Falls Church City
Falls Church Foot and Ankle Center
Giant Food Store #0765
Preservation Biscuit Company

Fluvanna County
Passion Community Church

Fredericksburg City
Anderson Oil
Restorante Renato
Galax City
County Line Café
Food City #865

Giles County
Carilion Giles Community Hospital
Pembroke Telephone Cooperative (PEMTEL)

Halifax County
Berry Hill Resort and Conference Center
Charles Anderson Lawn Care
KeJa’eh Enterprises LLC

Hampton City
Next Generation Storytellers (NGS)
Virginia Ship Repair

King and Queen County
Chucky’s Pump, Repair, and Well Drilling, LLC
Horace Mann
On The Fly Game Truck

King George County
Rappahannock Goodwill Industries, Inc.

Lexington City
Pronto Gelateria
Pure Eats
Sarah Dudley of Alcova

Loudoun County
Amazon and Amazon Web Services
Climatic Heating and Cooling
Loudoun Laurels Foundation

Louisa County
Domino’s Pizza of Louisa
Roma’s Italian Restaurant of Louisa
Subway of Louisa

Manassas City
All Assured Solutions
Comfort Keepers

Martinsville City
Carter Bank & Trust
The Lester Group

Nelson County
Front Street Garage
Mountain Area Realty
Torres Transport

Norton City
All Indoor Farm Store
DoughMakers Pizza
Innovative Graphics

Petersburg City
Hebron Virginia, Inc.
Katie’s Soles
People’s Advantage Federal Credit Union
Powhatan County
Bankers Insurance
Herff Jones
Rise & Grind

Prince Edward County
Centra Southside Community Hospital
Farmville Firemen’s Auxiliary
Prince Edward County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office

Pulaski County
Martins Pharmacy
Pulaski Chamber of Commerce
Pulaski County Parks and Recreation

Rappahannock County
Rose Hill Veterinary Practice

Roanoke County
Carilion Clinic
Member One Federal Credit Union
Southern Team Auto

Rockbridge County
Mountain Gateway Community College
Pure Eats Restaurant

Staunton City
Blue Ridge Aviation
Tiller Strings Violin Shop
Valley Trust Insurance

Suffolk City
BELK Suffolk Department Store
STARR Motors
United Way

Waynesboro City
Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine
Waynesboro Moose Lodge #1309
Waynesboro Police Department

West Point Town
Anna’s Italian Restaurant

Williamsburg-James City County
James City County Williamsburg Master Gardener Association
The Williamsburg Chapter of the League of Women Voters
Newport News Shipbuilding

Winchester City
Army Corps of Engineers
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW Local 26)
Tristate Nissan/The Marlow Auto Group
Profile in Leadership
Graham Paige, Central Regional Chair
How long have you been a school board member?
I have been a member of the Board since winning a special election in November 2015 to fill a seat left vacant by a resignation.

What do you do when you're not working on School Board items?
I am active in several civic and fraternal organizations in my community. I also am active in my Church serving as a trustee, Sunday School teacher and musician.

Where do you turn for new ideas about serving your community?
I get new ideas by attending conventions the School Boards Association holds.

What are one or two education issues/topics/challenges that are especially important to you and why?
One challenge that is important is closing the achievement gap in our division. I believe that in order to be most effective we must do our best to meet the needs of all students.

Portsmouth Public Schools Adopts Lexia Learning's LETRS Program
Division Spotlight: Portsmouth Public Schools
Portsmouth Public Schools is pleased to offer teachers and reading specialists an opportunity to participate in intensive professional learning on explicit literacy instruction through LETRS training during the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years.

LETRS stands for Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling. It is a comprehensive professional learning course designed to provide educators and administrators with deep knowledge to be literacy and language experts in the Science of Reading. Lexia LETRS teaches the skills needed to master the foundational and fundamentals of reading and writing instruction—phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and written language.

Portsmouth Public Schools made the decision to help build the capacity of our teachers and reading and English support staff to provide evidence-based and science-based instructional practices to improve student achievement and close reading gaps. While this particular program meets the Virginia Department of Education requirement for teacher training for the Virginia Literacy Act, Portsmouth sees it as more than just checking a required box. We see it as a significant investment to fully prepare our teachers for high-quality teaching and learning.
Portsmouth began this professional learning endeavor by building the capacity of our K-2 teachers and special education teachers to support foundational skills such as phonological awareness, phonics, decoding, and sight recognition. During the 2024-2025 school year, these teachers will continue with their training in Volume 2 of the program, and 3-6 teachers will engage in their first year of learning.

Teresa Sarandria, a Kindergarten teacher, shared, “LETRS training has enabled me to see that I have many practices in place in regards to the Science of Reading, but it has also opened my eyes to new strategies. I have utilized procedures to better meet my students where they are, and I am seeing good results.”

Our reading support staff, including reading specialists, reading coaches, program specialists, special education supervisor, and elementary coordinator, were included to ensure that all instructional support staff have the key understanding of how students learn to read through the Science of Reading. Division leadership ensures that principals are engaged in conversations around what their teachers and specialists and learning throughout the LETRS coursework, as well as what they should be looking for in the classroom as a result of that learning.
Natasha Hawkins, Reading Specialist, shared, “ LETRS was an enriching experience for me that greatly improved my educational practice. LETRS provided me with the background information behind why many of the instructional practices that we do are of best practice.

Before taking LETRS, I started my own research about the science of reading, and I started trying to implement changes in my instructional practice in my classroom. Completing the LETRS units was confirmation that I was choosing the best instructional practices to greatly impact student achievement.”

Patti Fleming, Reading Specialist, shared, “I enjoy learning more about SOR through LETRS. Many of the ideas confirm what I have already been doing in my small groups which makes me feel more confident. I am learning new ideas and techniques to help enhance my instruction. The knowledge that I am receiving helps me to better understand some of the mistakes that students make while reading and spelling. I am learning to analyze collected data in a deeper manner as well.”

LETRS has been quite impactful in how our teachers deliver reading instruction systematically. Instruction is targeted more in an explicit and sequential manner, which has led to more engaging phonics instruction. Students are enjoying the new learning process that has boosted their confidence in reading! We look forward to continuing the Science of Reading journey with our teachers to support reading instruction and increase student achievement! Portsmouth Public Schools is committed to developing lifelong learners who are future-ready!
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 division's name. Pictures and a link to the story on your division/school's website should also be included with the submission.
Using Amendments to Offer Alternatives
By Donald Garrett, MPA, PRP
With Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR), the motion to amend is a powerful, but, at times, hard-to-use tool. At its most basic level, the motion to amend is used to change the wording of a proposal (a main motion). Clarifying and updating the phrasing of a main motion allows the body to make it more suitable for approval by a majority vote.

You may have heard of the term friendly amendment, but did you know an amendment can technically be unfriendly? Under RONR, an amendment must be germane, which means “closely related to or having bearing on the subject of the motion to be amended” (RONR §12:6). Under this rule, it is possible to use the motion to amend to offer an alternative proposal because although it does not support the original proposal, it is nonetheless closely related to it.

RONR gives the following example in §12:20 to illustrate this point:
Assume that the following is the pending motion: “that the City Council commend Officer George for his action in…” An amendment to strike out “commend” and insert “censure,” although antagonistic to the original intent, is germane and in order because both ideas deal with the council's opinion of the officer's action.
If you want to offer an alternative while a main motion (proposal) is pending, use the following form of the motion to amend: “I move to amend the motion by striking out [words to be stricken] and inserting [words to be inserted].” Let’s try this with a few examples.
Example 1 – Contract Award
Suppose the school system received bids from Vendors A, B, and C. The staff’s recommendation of Vendor A is pending at the School Board meeting because their bid was the lowest, meeting all of the requirements. You notice Vendor A is out of state and that Vendor B, a local provider, was only off by an unsubstantial amount; you believe the local economy would be better stimulated if the Board goes with Vendor B. If the pending motion is “to award the contract to Vendor A,” you would say, “I move to amend the motion by striking Vendor A and inserting Vendor B.” The Board would debate the merits of awarding the contract to Vendor B, take a vote on the motion to amend, and then take a final vote on the motion to award the contract (either as proposed or as amended).
Example 2 – School Name
Suppose the school board is considering naming a new school and the community survey indicates “Lakeside Elementary” won by two votes. The current motion is “to name the new school Lakeside Elementary.” You feel that Lakeside Elementary is too similar to and shares an acronym with Lower South Elementary and that the close runner-up would make a better school name. If you wanted to offer a motion to amend, you would say, “I move to amend the motion by striking Lakeside Elementary and inserting Ronald McDonald Elementary.”  
Challenges and Best Practices for Making Amendments
Navigating the amendment process can present several challenges, particularly when there is strong opposition or complex issues at stake. Members may encounter resistance from colleagues who prefer the original proposal or who may not immediately see the benefits of the suggested changes. To address this, it is crucial to prepare well-articulated and compelling reasons for the amendment, ensuring that the rationale is both logical and aligned with the board’s goals. Anticipating counterarguments and preparing responses can also help in managing opposition effectively. It is beneficial to engage in pre-meeting one-on-one discussions with other members to gauge reactions and solicit feedback, which can lead to stronger, more consensus-driven proposals.

When proposing an amendment, clarity and conciseness are key. Members should strive to present their amendments in simple terms, avoiding overly technical language that could obscure the intended changes. Effective communication plays a vital role in securing support for an amendment. This includes speaking confidently, staying focused on the merits of the proposal, and demonstrating how the amendment aligns with the broader objectives of the school board. Utilizing visual aids or examples can also help in illustrating the benefits more clearly. By fostering an environment of open dialogue and respectful debate, members can facilitate a smoother amendment process and enhance the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

Understanding and utilizing the motion to amend is crucial for members of any decision-making body, including school boards. By mastering this tool, members can ensure that proposals are thoroughly vetted and refined to better meet the needs of the community they serve. It's important to approach amendments not just as procedural necessities, but as opportunities to foster collaborative decision-making and enhance the effectiveness of board actions. As members of the school board, embracing the full spectrum of possibilities that amendments offer can lead to more informed decisions and, ultimately, more successful outcomes for our schools. 
Donald Garrett, MPA, PRP is a Professional Registered Parliamentarian located in the Northern Virginia area. Through his company, Last Minute Meetings, he has consulted numerous associations, nonprofits, and government entities on their meeting requirements. Mr. Garrett is a previous instructor of parliamentary procedure at VSBA’s New Member Orientation. He can be reached at or 703-873-7029.
Get ready to connect, collaborate, and conquer as we chart
the course for a brighter future together!
Join us for the 39th annual VSBA Conference on Education! We’re kicking things off with none other than the respected founder and CEO of G’Cubed, Inc., Mr. Vernon Green Jr. Mr. Green will be speaking on the topic and importance of cybersecurity. Also in attendance will be Virginia's 2025 Teacher of the Year, Avanti Yamamoto, a math teacher at Atlee High School in Hanover County Public Schools. Brace yourselves for an inspiring presentation that will set the tone for an enriching conference experience.

Following the workshops, school board members will have the opportunity to further explore key topics and network with industry experts and colleagues. Choose to visit with a few of VSBA’s Business Affiliates, and discover new tools and resources, or collaborate on solutions to common challenges facing educators today with your colleagues.

Following the networking break, attendees will be treated to lunch, a school division performance, and award presentations. The presentation of the 2024 Excellence in Workforce Readiness Awards, 2024 Food For Thought Awards, and the 2024 Student Essay Contest Award will be named while lunch concludes.

But there’s so much more in store! Dive into a powerful day of knowledge as attendees travel table to table for different mini-workshops showcasing the best practices that have propelled Virginia’s school divisions to success. From innovative teaching methods to effective administrative strategies, there’s something for everyone to glean from these engaging sessions.
Application Process for Nomination and Election of At-Large Officers
According to the VSBA Bylaws, Article IV, Section 2, “A Nominating Committee of five members will annually nominate no more than two candidates for President-Elect and no more than two candidates for each of the two at-large seats on the Board of Directors whose names will be placed in nomination at the Annual Convention. It shall be the duty of candidates for the at-large position to provide a written nomination, approved by a nominee’s school board, together with pertinent biographical information and a signed letter from each nominee confirming willingness to serve. Members of the Nominating Committee will not be eligible for nomination to any position on the Board. The Immediate Past President will serve as Chair of the Nominating Committee and four other committee members will be elected by the Board of Directors.”

Please note that according to the VSBA Operations Manual, adopted by the VSBA Board of Directors, Section 103.1, no member school board may have more than one person serve on the Board of Directors at the same time and Section 103.2, requires that Candidates for President-Elect must be selected from the current membership of the VSBA Board of Directors. Also, enclosed is Section 102.5, Civility in the VSBA nominating and election process, which was adopted by the VSBA Board of Directors on December 2, 2006.

The application form is required of At-Large candidates to apply for nomination. Those who wish to be considered by the Nominating Committee must submit the completed form, pertinent biographical information, and statement of willingness to serve by July 1. The members of the Nominating Committee appointed at the March 15, 2024, VSBA Board of Directors meeting are:
Joe Kilgore (Hampton City), Amy McClure (Lunenburg County), Kathleen Beane (Richmond County), Marie Imoh (Winchester City) and chaired by Past President David Woodard (Tazewell County).

If you are interested in receiving a copy of the application form to fill out or have any questions about the process, please call Gina Patterson, executive director, at 1-800-446-8722.
Unless otherwise stated, copyright or similar rights are reserved for all VSBA materials. Written permission of VSBA is required to distribute, adapt, or publish any VSBA materials. Unauthorized use of VSBA materials may violate copyright laws.
Vendor Solicitations
We are aware that some members are receiving email solicitations from vendors. While we are grateful to our corporate sponsors and vendors who generously support many of our events, VSBA does not share the contact information of our members.  
School board member contact information is publicly available on most school boards' websites. If you are receiving unwanted solicitations, please contact the companies directly to opt out.
Thank you to the 2024 VSBA Business Affiliates
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.
American Fidelity
American Fidelity provides employer cost-savings solutions and supplemental insurance benefits to specific industries. Acting as an extension of the HR department, we educate, enroll, and support the development of robust, competitive insurance packages – all while ensuring seamless administration and employee satisfaction. 

Brian "Putty" David | 724-322-4812
Cunningham Recreation/Game Time
Industry leaders in design and installation of playground equipment, shade, fitness equipment, sports equipment, bleachers, safety surfacing and site furnishings. We also offer playground inspection services, maintenance and inspection software.

Michele Breakfield | 800-438-2780
Spectrum Design, P.C.
Full-service Architectural and Engineering Services

Amy Lucas | 540-342-6001

Friday, May 31, 2024 - School Law Conference
Join us for a day of enlightenment and collaboration at the Virginia School Boards Association Hybrid School Law Conference. Our lineup of speakers will dive into relevant topics in education law, providing valuable insights for legal professionals, school board members, and policymakers alike.

Location: Hybrid - Richmond Marriott Short Pump or Virtual
Cost: $215 per registration. Please reach out to your school division clerk to register for this event. For affiliate members, please reach out to Mikaela Coffey for registration at

Thursday, June 27, 2024 - 2024 VSBA Title IX Workshop
In the wake of the latest changes to federal Title IX Regulations which go into effect on August 1, 2024, it is crucial for Title IX coordinators, central office staff, building level administrators, and school board members to confidently grasp and enforce the new requirements. Managing risks and cultivating a safe and healthy school environment are best achieved through prevention and thorough investigations.

This updated workshop will provide an overview of the changes and new requirements. During the workshop, participants will dive into the fundamentals of Title IX, discuss best practices related to Title IX policies, and identify employee training requirements. Attendees will leave with a better understanding of the requirements necessary to identify, prevent, and investigate claims of unlawful discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

Location: Hybrid - VSBA Office or Virtual
Cost: $180 per registration. Please reach out to your school division clerk to register for this event. For affiliate members, please reach out to Mikaela Coffey for registration at

Tuesday, July 23, 2024 - 2024 Conference on Education
Join us for the 39th annual VSBA Conference on Education! We’re kicking things off with none other than the respected founder and CEO of G’Cubed, Inc., Mr. Vernon Green, Jr. Mr. Green will be speaking on the topic and importance of cybersecurity. Brace yourselves for an inspiring presentation that will set the tone for an enriching conference experience.

Dive into a powerful day of knowledge as attendees travel table to table for different mini-workshops showcasing the best practices that have propelled Virginia’s school divisions to success. From innovative teaching methods to effective administrative strategies, there’s something for everyone to glean from these engaging sessions.

Location: Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa at Short Pump
Cost: $220 per registration. Please reach out to your school division clerk to register for this event. For affiliate members, please reach out to Mikaela Coffey for registration at
200 Hansen Road, Charlottesville, VA 22911
Tel: 434-295-8722 Fax: 434-295-8785