Two candidates apply for school board seat

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Two residents want the open seat on the Prince Edward County School Board. During the board’s meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 7, members opened the floor for those interested in filling the Farmville District 1 seat. This vacancy occurred when Dr. Peter Gur left to serve on the Prince Edward Board of Supervisors.

Dr. Stephen Keith and Kelly Forsythe both stated their interest in filling that position.

MORE ABOUT KEITH

Keith said he has been dedicated to public schools for around 50 years, and serves as an Assistant Professor of Education at Longwood University. His wife, Joyce, worked for over 30 years as a librarian with the county schools.

“I am increasingly concerned about the nature of the public discourse about maligning public education in the United States,” said Keith. “I see it as a crescendo. I see it in many other states. I see it beginning in Virginia. I do not yet see it, I hope, in Prince Edward. If I see it happening in all these other places then it is going to be happening here very soon.”

If chosen for the position, he hopes to help reverse this precedent that’s starting with these negative comments and outlook on the public schools. Keith said he wants to deflect these remarks by playing offense and promoting the schools instead of playing defense when these comments occur.

Overall, Keith hopes to be an ambassador for the public schools. Even when working at Longwood, he said his many connections in the community have allowed him to positively talk about the schools to others.

MORE ABOUT FORSYTHE

Forsythe also has experience working at the university level, as well as preschool through 12th grade as a school psychologist. She told the board her time as a school psychologist helped her learn how to apply data-driven decision making and system-level support. She’s also seen improvement in the schools up close.

“As the parent of an Eagle, I can say with confidence that there are wonderful things happening at Prince Edward,” said Forsythe. “We have some amazing teachers and staff. I am personally very grateful for our extended pre-k program that allows my daughter to attend school and that we provide breakfast and lunches for all of our students. This sets a strong educational foundation for so many of our students.”

She has also served in the Piedmont area’s Habitat for Humanity Board and the Coalition for the Prevention of Every Suicide and is the president of the Virginia Academy of School Psychologists, as well as the conference chair.

With her many experiences and positions, Forsythe attends regional, state and national meetings where she hears the success stories and failures of other educational systems and hopes to apply them to the Prince Edward School Board.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

We won’t know the board’s selection for a few more days. After hearing from both candidates in Wednesday’s meeting, the Board went into closed session and will announce the new member on Monday, Sept. 19.