CAPE CHARLES WAVE
March 3, 2014
Cape Charles resident and Broadwater Academy senior Katie Wendell has been selected to the 2014 All-Metro Conference Girls Basketball Team.
Consisting of nine high schools in the Tidewater area, the Metro Conference selects a 12-member all-star team at the end of each season.
Katie was co-captain of her team and played the point guard position. She led the Lady Vikings in scoring, averaging 18.7 points per game. She also was the Metro Conference’s second-leading scorer this season.
Two of Katie’s season highlights were a 32-point performance against Stonebridge Academy, and scoring 8 points in the fourth quarter in a come-from-behind victory over Northampton High School. The Lady Vikings finished the season with an 11-9 record.
On defense, Katie finished fourth in the Metro Conference with 3.5 steals per game.
A three-sport standout at Broadwater, Katie has played volleyball, basketball, and softball each year since 6th grade. She credits her participation in the Northampton County Parks and Recreation Department youth soccer and basketball programs for helping her develop the fundamentals of successful athletics. Katie especially encourages young girls to take advantage of the co-ed format. Strengthening their game against male competition will reap benefits later when they play on all-girl teams in junior and senior high school, she says. [Read more...]
By TED WARNER
February 3, 2014
On Wednesday, January 15, I drove back to Northampton County, across the increasingly overpriced Bay Bridge-Tunnel. I drove around Cape Charles, taking in the familiar streets, and eventually made my way to the Northampton County Public Schools Central Office in order to witness the swearing in ceremony of the county’s first elected school board.
For many of us, the ceremony marked the end of a long process which began several years ago.
Several hundred of us sat in the Old Middle School auditorium to express our outrage over the unceremonious dismissal of a popular high school principal. But there were only eight of us a few weeks later, facing that great, inevitable question: “What’s next?”
Over the next few months, we collaborated closely and struggled to develop a message that was respectful of a long litany of complaints about the state of our public schools, but was also forward-thinking, positive, and would ultimately lead to a positive change in the county. We recognized that the county’s public school administrators and School Board were not responding to needs of teachers, parents, and the community at large. For example, the county’s strategic plan addressed the topic of “community outreach” with only the ominously apathetic words “on going.” That, we felt, was not enough. So we began circulating a petition to create an elected (and not appointed) school board. The petition led to a referendum, which was overwhelming approved by the voting public in November 2012. Then we turned our attention to recruiting candidates for the School Board.
For my part, I was adamant that the candidates be subjected to public scrutiny and that they be asked to articulate an unwavering commitment to involving the expertise of teachers in their deliberations. I firmly believe that almost any problem in our schools can be better solved by a group of teachers, working in the classroom day in and day out, than by Central Office personnel or state-level officials in the Department of Education. Although I was there for every step of this story, I hope that this last point — that the teachers should be more respected — was my contribution.
After a series of public forums, of which the most productive was sponsored by the Northampton County Education Association, a professional association of Northampton’s teachers and support professionals, a group of candidates was selected. In November, the people elected their first school board.
When they raised their hands a week ago and took their oath of office, I hope they realized that although a long story had come to a triumphant conclusion, a new story was beginning. And that story begins with that same great, inevitable question: “What’s next?”
It saddens me that I will not be a part of answering that question. Shortly after the election in November, I accepted a position that required me to move out of the school system. My colleagues congratulated me warmly, and I was grateful for their support. As we all must, my decision to move on was responsible to my family obligations and respectful to the resignation process as defined by School Board policy. I certainly wish that Northampton County could have created the circumstances for me to remain. [Read more...]
CAPE CHARLES WAVE
November 6, 2013
Eastville attorney Shannon Dunham defeated retired teacher Tamsey Ellis for the District 1 seat Tuesday on Northampton County’s first elected school board. Dunham received 488 votes to Ellis’ 435, with absentee ballots still to be counted.
The race had been a friendly one, with Dunham declaring that “I’m not running against Tamsey — I’m running for the School Board.”
Neither candidate carried the burden of incumbency, as dissatisfaction with County schools is running high. Incumbent Delores Lindsay had filed to run in District 1, but later changed to contest an at-large seat voted on County-wide. Lindsay was unsuccessful in the at-large race, however, losing to Randall Parks 2,170 to 1,442.
In the other at-large contest, Jo Ann Molera defeated Nykia Robinson 2,122 to 1,328. [Read more...]
October 31, 2013
School Boards in Virginia are charged with three tasks: (1) Determine the policies that everyone must follow to keep the organization running smoothly; (2) Prepare and present to the public and Board of Supervisors a budget that will cover everything from pencils and erasers to salaries, buildings and equipment; and (3) Hire and supervise the Superintendent to manage the affairs of the organization.
Next week we will go to the polls to vote for Northampton County School Board members. I worked closely with school boards over 38 years in education in seven communities and two states, including 14 years as Northampton’s School Superintendent. I know what makes a school board work and what doesn’t.
The success of a school board depends on the support of the community it serves. It also depends on diversity among its members. That diversity allows for an exchange of views, a broader range of options, and extra security that issues are resolved in the most appropriate manner.
There have always been retired educators on the School Board. Many Board members have also come from the business community, and when we got really lucky we had an attorney on the Board as well. [Read more...]
October 30, 2013
I am writing in response to the recent letter in support of Tamsey Ellis for the School Board from District 1. Shannon Dunham possesses valuable attributes which none of the other candidates running for the School Board have. Namely, she has a vested interest in the school system in that she has three young children who are approaching school age. The need to have a balance on the School Board which would include young parents is essential for a board which should represent all of the community. The notion that she would not devote the necessary time to the School Board if elected is ludicrous.
The value of having a lawyer on the School Board cannot be overestimated, as Shannon would be able to make certain that policies and decisions made by the Board are in fact legal, and the Board would not have to go back and re-work decisions which would in fact be illegal without her guidance.
The writer is bothered by the request made by Mrs. Dunham to postpone the trial date for Tonya Bundick to allow more time to provide an adequate defense. In high-profile cases such as this one, it is common for defense attorneys to make such a motion. I believe such a request shows the due diligence which all of us would want if we were being represented by a lawyer in any legal case.
The writer also denigrates Mrs. Dunham for remarks she made concerning the ultimate use of the legal system against some parents. Evidently the writer cannot conceive of parents who cannot be bothered to get up in the morning to get their children ready for school, both dressed and fed. She does not understand that there are children of all ages who are basically raising themselves in our community. If it is necessary for the welfare of the children to involve the legal system with such parents, that path should not go unused. [Read more...]
October 28, 2013
We face a choice here in District 1 for who will sit on Northampton County’s first elected school board. Shannon Dunham, a local lawyer, is running against Tamsey Ellis, a retired educator.
Having heard both candidates speak at the public forum at the old middle school a few weeks ago, I have made my choice. While I am sure that the dynamic Ms. Dunham is as smart as they come, and as ambitious, I have serious doubts about her ability to devote the time and energies to the enormous problems our schools face.
She is a full-time lawyer, currently defending the accused female Eastern Shore arsonist in a looming high-profile trial across the bay. She recently asked the judge for an extension, claiming she is not ready, to which the judge replied, essentially, “too bad.”
Then she asked to remove herself from the case. Again, the judge refused to let her off the hook from her obligation.
She herself made an issue at the forum of being the mother of three small children, caring for four dogs, and a full-time career. She also played the “outside the beltway” card, claiming that because she is in the law profession and has never been “in education,” she can see with clearer eyes the problems our schools face. [Read more...]
As we begin to think about shaking the sand out of our flip flops or perhaps finishing up that last summer project, the faculty and board of directors at the Cape Charles Christian School are gearing up for another year of innovative, experiential learning for their students. [Read more...]