By Pam Dudding Contributing writer
The Craig County School Board elects new officers when their tenure is up, in January of the new year.
This year, two new members replaced Gina Smith and George Foster who had both completed their terms.
The School Board extends their great appreciation for their service and sincere care for the students and staff of CCPS.
Remaining on the Board are Trace Bellassai, Chairman and representative for Craig City District; Faye Powers, Vice-Chair representing Potts Mountain; and Kevin Altizer, Craig Creek.
Darren Gilreath shared that he is happy to be the newly elected School Board member for the Simmonsville District.
Gilreath and his wife currently have two children who attend Craig County Public Schools.
He is originally from Williamsburg, Kentucky, but has lived in Newport, Virginia, since 2018 and has been a business owner for the last ten-plus years. He currently owns and operates Joe’s Trees, Inc.
“I chose to run for a seat on the school board because I saw the need for someone in my district as Mrs. Smith was not going to run for the position again,” Gilreath said. “I have always believed that people should be a contributor in their community, and this is a way for me to contribute to my community and support the children and staff at our local school.”
He noted that he has experience with school site-based committees and operating successful businesses.
“I will be able to bring new ideas to the table that will help the school prosper and have a brighter future,” he shared.
Continuing, he added, his areas of importance include, “Retention of our experienced staff and administrators as well as improving the quality of education of our children and future students of Craig County Public Schools.”
For the New Castle District, Walter Marsden will be the new representative.
“I was blessed to have been raised by my grandparents on a farm in Central Virginia while my mother was a nurse after WWII,” he shared. “My mother re-married and I lived in northeast Roanoke, graduating from William Fleming High School.”
Marsden joined the Navy, serving four years mostly on the USS Galveston CLG-3 as a GM traveling the world, including a tour of Vietnam.
“I graduated from Longwood College in Farmville and spent 34 years working for the Norfolk and Southern Railroad,” Marsden said. “I retired as Chief Dispatcher for Virginia Division in Roanoke.”
Marsden then moved to Craig County in 2002, saying, “Because I wanted to regain my wonderful youth growing up in the country.”
“When the opening occurred for the school board, I wanted to maintain a member that was all for our students and future leaders,” Marsden explained. “Part of the mission statement of our school board is why I wanted to serve as it prepares our students to become responsible, contributing members of society: ‘Every child a graduate, every child prepared for life.’”
Both individuals attended the February School Board meeting and gave input on various subjects.
Anyone who serves our community on any board knows that it takes their time and wisdom to make not only heartfelt, but serious decisions for our community best and for our students in our schools.
Always know you can speak to any of the Board members when you have questions or would like to simply say “thank you” to them for their service.
The monthly meetings are held at the Craig County High School auditorium at 5:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. The community is encouraged to attend, or to go online and watch live.
I personally believe that without the love of community and the extended hands, doing the work, our children will not be able to fulfill their greatest potential. Every parent, every citizen is necessary to mold our kids into great people of Craig County.