By: Adrienne Wallace | Email: Click Here
Posted: January 10, 2020 | 1:45 p.m.
DINWIDDIE – This year the School Board will have a new look with two new members taking their seats at the next meeting.
In District 1, Jay Schnepf will be serving for the first time after running a successful bid as a write-in candidate.
Former official Teresa Stump opted not to seek reelection and no others stepped forward to have their name on the ballot. However, there was a competition in the write-in candidacy.
In District 2, Betty Haney ran for office and will replace her husband William Haney at the table. After 16 years, he chose not to run for office while Betty Haney decided she could pick up those reigns and give back to the division as an elected official.
Others remain in office including District 3 member Barbara Pittman, current chairwoman and District 5 representative Sherilyn Merritt and Mary Benjamin in District 4.
For Deputy Schnepf, who serves as a resource officer at Dinwiddie Middle School, safety and security are top priorities. He felt the county deserved a local representative who had experience with the students in schools and cared about the overall division and locality.
“I will put the kids first,” the deputy said was the reason he opted to run. “I feel I have the knowledge from within the schools that I can help address issues I see.”
Safety, security and offering a variety and range of different classes for all students will help with the future of Dinwiddie.
Just before Christmas, the men and women of the Dinwiddie School Board were sworn into office, with Betty Haney (second from left) and Jay Schnepf (left) beginning their first terms. (Adrienne Wallace)
“I’m hoping the budget will allow for that and even tighter security and safety measures,” he commented in a phone interview. Though he said the division already has made great efforts in safety with cameras, security lock down and capabilities to shelter in place. “I’d also like to address bus drivers – we need more bus drivers and have to work on recruitment and mention – and teacher salaries.”
This is his ninth year as a resource officer within Dinwiddie schools with 11 years as a deputy here and 22 years in law enforcement. He feels that experience will benefit the students, parents and staff.
“I think they already have a wonderful team, and I’m excited to join that team,” Schnepf added. “Though Mr. Haney will be missed, Betty Haney is a welcome addition, and I know she will also add to the team working for the betterment of Dinwiddie schools and for students overall.”
Betty Haney is waiting to set many priorities and goals until she receives training and learns the processes of the School Board.
On Jan. 13, training will take place in the School Board office and then members travel for the School Board Association new member training which she believes all current elected officials will attend.
“I’m anxious to get started,” she said in a recent phone interview. “Before I set opinions and specific priorities i have to see what it is all about.”
She’s proud that all the schools are accredited, “and we want to keep it that way.”
“We want to make sure kids get what they need to help them thrive in school and after they graduate,” Haney said. “We’ll be working on the budget in the next six months and I’ll see what needs to be addressed in the area of schools and safety and also teachers’ pay.”
But first, Haney says she has to get into office before she can begin to make decisions.
She’s confident in all the members of the board and said that she could look to her husband if there is a time she needs guidance. “I hope I can do as good of a job as he did in the past 16 years.”
Their first meeting is set for Jan. 13 with training but the public meeting scheduled for Jan. 14 was postponed with an unanimous vote in December to allow for training.
Copyright 2020 by Womack Publishing
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