Opinions

Write in Linda Staiger on ballot
Linda is a very remarkable person and the School Board will benefit greatly with her as a member.

Linda has an amazing background and career in the medical field as an orthopedic surgeon. She uses her free time as an artist to relax and create beautiful paintings, which shines through in her wonderful, calming personality. She understands the importance of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM), which enhances our students’ abilities. College and the workforce are very competitive and the students of Fluvanna must be prepared beginning at an early age to compete with their peers from other districts.

Linda worked very hard to become a successful, productive female. She has persevered through many trials and tribulations to become the successful woman she is today. As a woman, I know all about hard work and being denied opportunities. The citizens of Fluvanna need Linda on the School Board to fight for the equal rights and opportunities of all students. Her determination and energy is what our students need when they encounter obstacles. They will have a Board member that knows how it feels to go through hardship and be a fighter. She will come up with ideas and strategies along with the Board to empower our students to do the best they can to be successful. She will also be very supportive of the teachers and the administration.

There is still a divide of learning among our students that needs to be identified and Linda will work diligently for a resolution.

Linda is a Fluvanna public school success story, and will be able to pinpoint what’s required to enrich our school system. As an African American woman, I wholeheartedly offer my support to Linda who will be an advocate for all our students.

Vote for Linda! Write in “Linda Staiger” and blacken the circle beside her name!

Barbara M. Cary
Palmyra

My pen pal is a photocopier
Rob Bell has received an F rating from the Virginia Education Association for the last three years. I know my fellow parents and I appreciate the form letters his office mails when our kids do well in school, but we should be supporting someone who supports our schools. He’s had 17 years as a delegate. He’s sent plenty of letters during that time, but we’ve also seen a significant decrease in school spending, increased mandates that are passed down to the local level, and the utterly backwards Standards of Learning process.

Vote for Kellen Squire on Nov. 7. Kellen has children in public school and understands the frustrations that parents face.

Peter M.J. Gross
Scottsville
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Why Stewart, why now?
Our Fluvanna school system has made great strides in the past five years. We have received full accreditation and have been recognized by several different organizations as “best in class.” Why? Because of good leadership. We have an opportunity to see our schools continue to be “best in class” by electing Shirley Stewart to represent the Rivanna District for the School Board on Nov. 7.

Why should Shirley be elected to represent the Rivanna District? That is a great question. It comes down to a combination of three things: a passion for education; proven leadership abilities and community involvement.

I met Shirley when she moved here from Vermont in 2011. We were both in the same Fluvanna Leadership Development Program class. We worked closely together and I got to know her very well. After graduation Shirley went on to serve on our steering committee and helped develop the curriculum for subsequent classes. Her insightful questions and willingness to roll up her sleeves and “get ‘er done” attitude was awesome. She has stayed involved in the community since, up to and including her entry into the School Board race.

Shirley has over 30 years of educational experience as a teacher, administrator and principal. She understands what makes “good bones” in a rural school system. She brings a proven track record in the educational field. Her innovative ideas and her keen understanding of the role of the School Board in setting direction and providing resources and developing policy will serve us well.

Finally, Shirley brings a life-long passion for education to the school system. Her work at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, helping to train the next generation of Virginia’s teachers, will serve our school system well as she brings a fresh perspective on current best practices in K-12 pedagogy as well as classroom and school management that our schools will benefit from.

Shirley Stewart is the most qualified candidate for Rivanna District School Board representative. Show up on Nov. 7 and “vote Stewart for schools.”

Rudy Garcia
Fork Union

Create candidate qualifications chart
I remember a candidate in the 2015 elections creating a simple chart to compare credentials among the candidates. Published in the Fluvanna Review in October of that year, I found that chart much more helpful than trying to plow through hundreds of words about each of the candidates to find out where they stand and why I should vote for them.

Of course, I think it would be even better if an unbiased observer like the Fluvanna Review, rather than the candidates themselves, did the same thing for the Columbia District School Board election. I’d like to know what qualifies each of the candidates for the position – their education, their experience, their connection to the public schools and how they are preparing to become a School Board member.

But I’d also like to be able to compare, side by side, where they stand on issues that are important to the schools. For example, whether they believe our schools have adequate resources to give our kids the best education? Do they think we should be doing something to retain good teachers? Should our tax dollars be going to support non-public schools? What can we do to stop bullying? Should there be teacher- or administrator-led prayer in the schools?

I think this would be particularly important for the Columbia District School Board position – though it would be good for all elective offices – because it seems one of the candidates has been pretty open about her credentials and her views, and one just hasn’t. To make an informed vote, I think we need to know more about both.

Paul Crowther
Palmyra Add a comment

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Stewart is an educational leader dedicated to serving public
As principal of Randolph Elementary School in Vermont and an active School Board member for my children’s school, I feel compelled to send a letter of support for Shirley Stewart who is running for the Rivanna seat on the Fluvanna School Board. As a principal and a Board member, I must be a listener and open to hearing all sides. I must have the ability to create and foster positive relationships and mediate difficult discussions.

I find my knowledge of schools has greatly enhanced my ability to support, advocate and communicate with the community as a Board member.

Ms. Stewart and I were principals together for six years, so I am qualified to speak about her strong leadership skills. I can unequivocally say she possesses the necessary skills to be an effective School Board member. She is a woman of great integrity and puts skills to work for the benefit of students receiving a high quality education. Ms. Stewart knows the importance of relationships, how to be a good listener and problem solver and can bring people together for the common good. She knows how to effectively manage a budget that is responsive to both the school’s and community’s needs. Ms. Stewart has an innate way of looking at an organization and figuring out how to make it more effective and efficient. The leadership skills that made Ms. Stewart an amazing principal will make her an asset to the Fluvanna School Board. Given her vast experience and skills in public education, I can’t imagine a better candidate.

Erica McLaughlin
Mendon, Vt.
2015 Vermont Principal of the Year


Linda Staiger is the more qualified candidate
I am writing to indicate my strong support of Dr. Linda Staiger to represent the people of the Columbia District on our School Board. Linda has a long record of professional experience as an orthopedic surgeon and educator. She is committed to continuing the Fluvanna County Public Schools’ record of solid achievements over many years. Since Dr. Staiger was removed from the November ballot for technical reasons after having her candidacy certified by the registrar, we are mounting a write-in campaign to elect her. I urge you to join us in that effort.
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Pullen response is telling
In the article “Candidate for School Board will not appear on ballot” (Fluvanna Review Sept. 14 issue), Andrew Pullen has shown that rather than campaigning on the issues, he is more interested in using intimidation and shady politics to win a seat on the Fluvanna County School Board.
 The Pullen campaign has continuously and falsely implied that Linda Staiger is not a Columbia District resident (she is), even going so far as to have the state police search her home. Mr. Pullen also used a clerical error involving a newly-introduced form which was missed by both Dr. Staiger and the county registrar. He falsely indicates in an email statement to the Fluvanna Review that Dr. Staiger completely blamed our registrar and expected the law to be overlooked. Dr. Staiger’s response acknowledges that the wrong form was submitted and in no way blames the registrar. Additionally, to state that this error in any way shows “lack of personal accountability and attention to detail” is complete hyperbole. Dr. Staiger accepts the State Board of Elections decision and is running as a write-in candidate.
 Mr. Pullen’s behavior and statements give us some insight as to how he might approach a seat on the School Board:  with micro-management, intimidation, nuance and short-term decisions based strictly on the bottom line with no regard for education in Fluvanna. A vote for Linda Staiger is a vote for someone who is passionate about the long-term preparation, welfare and education of our children. She has the character, vision and skillset necessary to represent the Columbia District on the Fluvanna County School Board. Please write in Staiger on Nov. 7.
 
John Hammond
Columbia

School nurse endorses Stewart for School Board
I endorse Shirley Stewart, candidate for School Board in the Rivanna District. As a former school nurse, I support Ms. Stewart’s approach to ensuring a safe and healthy learning environment for Fluvanna students.
Ms. Stewart, with her decades of working in schools as a teacher and principal, recognizes that student health and wellness rely on quality nutritional programs with healthy choices, regular physical activity, a strong health curriculum, and a clean, safe school environment. Furthermore, and here’s the heart of the matter, while Fluvanna County is fortunate to have a nurse in every school, Ms. Stewart believes that student health goes beyond the nurse’s office. It involves all adults, including teachers, cafeteria workers, coaches, custodians, school bus drivers, and administrative staff, promoting kindness, a lack of bullying, and teaching kids to say “no” when they feel unsafe.
As a member of the School Board, Ms. Stewart will advocate for school health programs and policies, which support a healthy learning environment for all our students, fostering self-confidence and academic success. Vote Shirley Stewart for School Board Nov. 7.

Lou Lamb
Lake Monticello
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Staiger seeks Columbia District School Board seat as write-in
I’m running for the Fluvanna County School Board as a write-in candidate from the Columbia District because I want to become a voice for encouraging children, and for bringing the schools and the community together. As a Fluvanna native, I graduated from Fluvanna High School and live on part of our old family farm in the Columbia voting district. I am a retired orthopedic surgeon and now a professional artist.

In June, I had originally been certified by the Virginia Department of Elections as a candidate for the School Board seat. Later, on Aug. 28, elections officials determined that I had filed the financial disclosure form rather than the statement of economic interest form, a fact they failed to notice when they certified that I had met all conditions to be a candidate in June. Extensions are given to candidates in June when a file is incomplete, but my candidacy file was not flagged as being incomplete. When the matter was brought to my attention Aug. 28, I submitted the correct, and very similar, form within hours. The State Board of Elections did not grant me an appeal on Sept. 8, deciding it was too late in the election cycle. Consequently, I am choosing to run as a write-in candidate.

Despite the bureaucratic setback, I’m determined to go ahead with a write-in campaign because the future of the kids in Fluvanna – as well as the taxpayers – is too important for me to go down without a fight. I’ve spent a lot of years in this county and I want to see it grow and improve; a school is an investment in people and the future of a community, just like fertilizer or a tractor is an investment for a farm. Please look at my website (www.staigerforschools.com) for information about the experience I offer the Fluvanna school system and my Facebook page (StaigerForSchools) to see the work I have been doing to fully understand the issues of the Fluvanna school system and the viewpoints of Columbia citizens.

I respectfully ask for your vote as a write-In candidate for School Board in the Columbia district on Nov. 7.

Linda Staiger
Palmyra

Write in Staiger for School Board
I strongly encourage you to write in Linda Staiger as candidate for School Board from the  Columbia District.  Linda is an educated professional with a long family history in Fluvanna County. Her commitment to excellence is unmatched. She advocates for all the children of the county and does not cater to special interests that seek to drain our schools of needed resources. Linda Staiger is a tireless worker sending out connections to all in our district and county. Linda is indeed an exceptional person and an asset to our county.

A strong, healthy school system is the foundation of a healthy community and nation. Without a good and proper education, our students will languish in poverty and lack of will. As a member of the School Board, Linda Staiger will ensure that needed programs will continue and strengthen. She has assessed the needs of our students. Linda Staiger will advocate for programs that will enhance the future success of our students, whether they continue on to college or proceed into the work force. She will listen to the voices of our district and take into account our concerns. Linda Staiger is a force for reason and integrity.

I hope our residents will put aside politics and affiliations to elect this superb candidate. The School Board is no place for decisions based on partisan politics. Our School Board needs qualified members like Linda Staiger with the education, drive and strength to lead our schools in the pursuit of excellence.

Curtis L. Putnam
Columbia District

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