Council Appoints School Board Members

Surprising nobody, Charlottesville City Council appointed Rev. Alvin Edwards and re-appointed Peggy Van Yahres to the school board on Thursday evening. The wildcard didn’t go to Karen Waters as some (myself included) assumed, but instead to the Legal Aid Justice Center‘s Louis Bogard. The appointments come after two nights of public interviews of the 13 candidates. The big task facing the new members will be finding a replacement for banished superintendent Scottie Griffin. This may be a particularly tricky task for the good Reverend, since he liked Scottie Griffin just fine.

Venton Blandin has the story for WCAV. They probably have some nice video, too, but WCAV requires Windows to view their video. For a station with, like, 12 viewers, they could double their ratings by letting us Mac users watch.

13 thoughts on “Council Appoints School Board Members”

  1. Although Reverend Edwards did initially support Scottie Griffin, he came to view her in a negative light several months into her tenure, when her questionable judgment became obvious to all. Though he did not make his feelings known publicly, people in the know were aware that Rev. Edwards gave his blessing to the buyout.

  2. As the reality of Dr. Griffin’s disastrous leadership became obvious to all, as you say, CCSteacher, I wonder why Dr. Edwards & others in the African American community remained silent in public, leaving almost exclusively white parents to call for her resignation? If the community had been more broadly represented in openly voicing the urgent concerns that so very many of us had in common, perhaps we could have gotten past the accusations of “modern day lynching” and klan membership—and brought the focus back to responsible, competent leadership and accountability.

    At every school board meeting I waited for a respected African American community leader to speak in support of our teachers, principals and citizens and it never happened, even as morale in the system plummeted as the talk remained racism, racism, racism. Agnes Cross-White’s editorials were a rare example of the reality check we needed.

    The Charlottesville City Schools have lost an alarming number of teachers this year and the children will suffer greatly for it. Leadership takes courage; that has been sorely lacking.

  3. “As the reality of Dr. Griffin’s disastrous leadership became obvious to all, as you say, CCSteacher, I wonder why Dr. Edwards & others in the African American community remained silent in public, leaving almost exclusively white parents to call for her resignation?”

    Ok, so I’m sure this is a rhetorical question, but I can’t help calling one when I see it. The answer is….

    Nobody’d ever want to be accused of being a race traitor, particularly when they’d built a career on ‘solidarity’.

    Real leadership takes b*lls (plenty of women have them too, I am not throwing out reeky troll bait) – enough to stand up and LEAD people in the right direction towards constructive solutions. Preaching to the choir is not real leadership.

    I guess we should be thankful he at least kept his yap shut instead of jumping on the Turner bandwagon.

    I am taking a wait-and-see attitude towards Rev. Edwards; he certainly does have the political capacity to help lead the city out of the “racism, racism, racism” paradigm. I earnestly hope he rises to the challenge, we need it.

  4. I am hoping for the best in Rev. Edwards, as well—My comments are a broader lament that there has been a fear of speaking the truth in an environment of distrust.

  5. Is Edwards the one who was offended by the term “black hole” thinking it was racist until someone explained what it meant?

  6. I agree there are going to be a lot of questions about Edwards’ leadership – his past positions lead one to wonder how he will handle the current role he has been entrusted with. I sincerely hope he will honor the enormous trust that has been placed in him by attempting to hire the best superintendent possible, and by doing exactly what he said he would do as a school board candidate–build consensus and help our city schools move forward. I am confident that he can do that–I hope and pray that he will.

    As far as Louis Bograd – why would anyone be surprised about his appointment? He was clearly the most qualified, non-partisan, experienced candidate of the group and of any candidates for years (kind of amazing he didn’t get appointed last time). And Peggy Van Yahres will bring the education of a lifetime (learned in three short years) to this, and I believe we will benefit from her ability to say, wait a minute, this is where we got off track before, and keep everyones’ focus on the enormous task that lies in front of them.

  7. As far as Louis Bograd – why would anyone be surprised about his appointment?

    Because his appointment was politically non-obvious. It’s a wholly separate matter from his qualifications, which I understand are considerable.

  8. Politically non-obvious raises a very interesting question. Do most people assume that school board appointees are political appointees moreso than being qualified for the position? Or is it a case of considering the qualifications, but then looking at the person most likely to “go along” with current city leadership? I don’t think this Council could have survived accusations of politicizing the process if they had not appointed someone with Bograd’s qualifications, particularly if Democratic vice-chair Waters had been appointed in his stead. With the heat on for an elected school board, a trend in non-partisan appointments needs to be firmly applied. And I think Van Yahres’ reappointment could be viewed as politically unpopular with some (perhaps not with Democratic leaders-I’m not a political insider so I wouldn’t know), but was an example of Council being motivated to do what is in the interests of the schools. I’d be very interested in the views of others on this.

  9. Certainly, Karen Waters has a good bit of experience in this general field, since she heads up one of my favorite local programs, the Quality Community Council. I don’t think I could complain much if she’d been selected. :)

    (To be fair, I don’t know Louis, though we have some friends in common.)

  10. In an ideal world where we could vote for our school board, I’m sure Rev. Edwards would of been elected (he taught and still teaches in the city schools). Ms. Van Yahres, Mrs. Lewis, Ms. Waters would of split the old guard Democratic’s vote and lost. Mr. Bograd may have won a seat, but in an election, who do you think would be on the school board?
    I just hope they have the guts to name Bobby Thompson as the new city sup’t.

  11. hlamont, your ideal world in which we vote for our school board can be yours in reality. have you signed the petition to put the school board referendum on the ballot in november? it let the voters decide whether the school board should be appointed or elected. 78% of the communities in virginia have opted for an elected board. if you’re looking for a chance to sign the petition, go to the city market on saturday mornings, around the downtown mall during fridays after five—there are usually volunteers out then… or get in touch with jeff rossman or rob schilling.

  12. Just to add another element to all this, the vote for these three: Bograd, unanimous; Edwards, Democrats yes and Schilling abstained; and, van Yahres, Democrats yes and Schilling no. I could be reading too much into it, but I think this shows the political angle some were mentioned earlier. There’s no denying the friendship van Yahres has with some of the councilors. And while education and running a school district is quite different than a corporation, suppose this would have happened in a Fortune 500. It’s likely someone involved in a disastrous and publicly humiliating series of decisions for the company would not be asked to return, especially when there are quite a number of qualified people to fill the shoes. From what I hear, Edwards, Bograd, Waters, and John Gaines were all great choices for the school board.

    What’s even more disturbing is that van Yahres has said in interviews that she will turn the board around, she will get the schools headed in the right direction. That board needs team players now more than ever, not a fallen crusader.

  13. I’m glad to see Rev. Edwards was appointed. I may not agree with all his opinions but he is making an effort in the community to solve problems and hopefully he will not use the racism argument lightly as it has been thrown around in the past. As for Van Yahres- she is a champion for the teachers in the system. Early she may have made some mistakes but she is the ONLY board member who I saw break from protocol to stand up for administration and staff when others (Turner) called us racist. In the past year of conflict and the weight it put on the shoulders of the teachers- at least we new publicly who was on our side. If she was not reappointed it would have been another blow to our confidence in the system. Van Yahres will turn things around- team players is what got us in trouble in the first place. You can still be a team player and strive for excellence, every team needs that go to player when it counts. That’s Van Yahres. They may be a team but I would have Van Yahres be their captain!

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