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Three Lynchburg City School Board members reappointed

Three Lynchburg City School Board members reappointed

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Lynchburg City Council unanimously voted to reappoint three members to the Lynchburg City School Board at its Tuesday meeting.

Despite numerous applicants for each district, board members Robert Brennan, Kimberly Sinha and James Coleman were reappointed to the nine-member board, respectively serving Districts 1, 2 and 3.

District 1 represents Bedford Hills, Linkhorne and Paul Munro elementary schools, as well as Linkhorne Middle School. District 2 includes Dearington and T.C. Miller elementary schools for innovation and Perrymont, R.S. Payne and Sandusky elementary schools; Sandusky Middle School; Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School for Innovation; and E.C. Glass High School. District 3 includes William Marvin Bass, Heritage and Sheffield elementary schools, Hutcherson Early Learning Center and Heritage High School.

City council conducted public hearings regarding school board appointments May 26 and June 9. Council conducted a closed group interview with the three serving board members June 11.

Appointed in 2017 for his first term, Brennan has served as chair of the board’s Legislative Advocacy Community Relations Committee and has been involved with the division’s finance committee over the past three years.

“In order to have a strong, growing community, we need to have a strong and excellent public school system,” Brennan said.

One of the “greatest accomplishments” of the board during his first term, Brennan noted, was the hiring of Crystal Edwards as superintendent of the division in 2018.

“Dr. Edwards has shown tremendous leadership and support for the schools and for the staff and for the students,” Brennan said.

Sinha was appointed to the school board in January 2017 to fill the vacancy left when a former member resigned, leaving an unexpired term. In June 2017, Sinha was appointed to serve her first full term.

Going into her second term on the board, Sinha said she wants to continue to advocate for pre-K education in LCS. Sinha said she is happy to have seen the board become more active and engaged over the past three years.

Coleman currently serves as the board’s vice chair. Coleman has served two terms already, so this will be his third and final term, according to current school board policy.

“We’re all in this for the kids,” Coleman said. “Every decision that we make, we make it so that every single, solitary dollar is going toward student achievement.”

Coleman and Brennan also cited as a significant move during their terms the board’s vote to change the division’s volunteer policy so that applicants who had been convicted of a felony no longer are automatically disqualified from volunteer activities.

All three reappointed board members said the largest challenge the board will face as their next terms begin is the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on students, staff and schools.

Lynchburg City School Board members serve three-year terms and are appointed by city council after an application and interview process. Lynchburg is the only area school division with appointed members rather than elected.

Brennan said he is “pleased” with the council’s decision to reappoint the three currently serving school board members, and Sinha said she hopes this allows the board to “hit the ground running” moving into this next year.

District 1 representative Belle Evans, District 2 representative Sharon Carter and District 3 representative Atul Gupta were appointed in 2018, so their terms will expire and be up for appointment in 2021.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. July 7.

Jamey Cross covers education. Reach her at (434) 385-5532.

Jamey Cross covers education. Reach her at (434) 385-5532.

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