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Wythe School Board election: Lead Mines incumbent Ann Manley
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Wythe School Board election: Lead Mines incumbent Ann Manley

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Name: Ann Manley

Education: Graduate of Fort Chiswell High School, Lees-McRae College, Radford University (B.S. in Education), University of Virginia (Master’s in Education, Reading Specialist)

Last job: I was a reading coach at Jackson Memorial Elementary School and taught for a total of 35 years

Why are you running for office?

I believe I can make a difference. I believe in everyone’s individual worth and I care for the students, families, faculty and staff, and the community overall. I believe that when we work together, we can make Wythe County an even better place to live and succeed.

Discuss your qualifications to serve on the school board.

I am qualified to serve on the school board because of my extensive education experience and my drive to see improvement. Since I retired, I have worked eight additional years with students and their families to help them learn and grow. I am a team player and believe in partnerships and collaboration to make the best public school system we can.

How do you view the role of a school board member?

A school board member serves the public best when he or she is approachable, a good listener, a problem solver, and supportive of our youth and their needs. School board members must make tough decisions and I will never shy away from that. If we act in the best interests of our young people, we will succeed.

How do you think renovations at Scott and Spiller should progress?

Scott Memorial’s planning process is underway now. Once Scott is built a new Spiller can be constructed. We owe our students all over the county the best facilities we can afford.

Would you be in favor of asking Supervisors to raise taxes to fund school construction?

I believe the Wythe County School Board and the Wythe County Board of Supervisors both know the importance of modern school facilities. This is a critical element in making our community appealing to businesses and families when they consider where to put down roots. All funding sources must be considered but no one is angling for a tax increase. We are good custodians of the taxpayers’ money and that must continue.

What is the end goal for school facilities? Is consolidation on the table?

The schools we build must all be modern, safe, and large enough to meet future growth possibilities. School consolidation has not been discussed and I don’t think it will be.

How can technology better be leveraged for student development?

Broadband access throughout the county must be a reality sooner than later. We have seen the limitations and benefits of technology during this recent pandemic period. We equipped all students with devices to continue their education and that is something we should be proud of at Wythe County Public Schools.

What does the future of education look like in Wythe County?

Wythe County is on the rise and our educational system is no exception. Our workforce is strong, but we must continue to build and support it. Offering career and educational paths that serve our students’ needs is important. Student success is not for a few but for everyone we serve. Education is still the key.

Will the arrival of the Blue Star project affect education in Wythe County?

Any community would feel impact from such a significant economic development announcement. The money and jobs this will bring to our community will benefit our school system in the long run. We must be prepared but flexible as we look to the future so that we can continue to deliver a quality education to everyone.

What are the top two or three things the school system gets right?

Student safety is something we take very seriously that we do well. Our partnerships with parents, law enforcement, and our school staff to provide a safe learning environment is one of the most important things we do. Second, our faculty and staff also do an exceptional job supporting our students’ social, behavioral, and mental health needs. Perhaps most importantly, Wythe County Public Schools hires excellent, hard-working, and caring faculty, staff, administrators, central office staff, coaches, secretaries, bus drivers, mechanics, custodians, cafeteria workers, maintenance workers, paraprofessionals, technology department and nurses.

What are the top two or three things the school system gets wrong?

I would be hard pressed to identify something we get wrong. There are always areas that could use improvement and identifying and dealing with those items is an ongoing effort. When tough decisions must be made, there is often debate and disagreement. If we let our principles guide us and consider the needs of all children first, we will have done our best.

What is something other school systems do that Wythe County needs to copy?

We should consider a once a week, early dismissal as the pandemic carries on. This would allow for needed planning for our teachers, as many are covering other classes. It would also provide for individual instruction for our students as needed. This has proven to be effective in other school systems.

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