2 vie for Berryville seat on School Board
BERRYVILLE — The approximately 1,700 residents in the Berryville Voting District will have a choice when it comes to filling the Clarke County School Board seat being vacated by James Brinkmeier, who is moving to Frederick County.
George Archibald of West Main Street and Roberta Lasiter of Lindsay Court have qualified to run in the special election on Nov. 5 by each getting the signatures of 125 voters in the district by the Aug. 16 deadline.
Both candidates were born outside the United States.
Archibald, 68, is a native of England. He came to the United States when his father arrived to work thoroughbred racehorses for philanthropist and banking heir Paul Mellon in 1956.
Formerly of Front Royal and Middleburg, Archibald moved to Berryville in 2009 to be closer to his only sister after his mother’s death.
Lasiter, 42, was born in Brazil but became a U.S. citizen after marrying an American.
Archibald, a retired newspaper journalist and author, said he has covered education stories for much of his career, including the No Child Left Behind educational program of President George Bush for the Washington Times.
He was especially impressed by a school in Grove City, Pa., where at-risk students posted dramatically improved scores by adding a writing component to every subject in every grade. He believes that knowledge can be put to use on the School Board.
Lasiter said her 15-year-old daughter, a 10th-grader at Clarke County High School, is the reason she is interested in joining the School Board.
“She’s a straight A student,” Lasiter said.
“I also have an exchange student in 10th grade. That’s two teenagers,” she said.
Lasiter has degrees in marketing and franchising from her home country but has switched to banking and finance since moving to Virginia in 2008.
While she worked in Northern Virginia for several years, taking a job with BB&T has allowed her to drop the commute and become more involved in her community.
Archibald said he is running for the School Board because he believes the board, and not the school administration, should be the leader in educational policy and curriculum.
The county students should have “a good, solid education like I had growing up in England,” he said.
Archibald said he wants to be involved in curriculum decisions.
He also wants to see the School Board work closer with the Board of Supervisors, which holds the purse strings on the education budget.
“As well they should. When we have leftover money, we have to dovetail with them.”
Lasiter said she will have “a lot to learn about what’s going on,” because her job kept her out of the area so much.
In going door-to-door seeking signatures for her petition to be on the ballot, she said she talked to a lot of people about their feelings on the school system.
“I asked them what they liked and what would they like to see. There were a lot of mixed opinions.”
Lasiter said she understands the small size of the county school system is a hurdle.
“I’d like to do the best we can. Everybody wants to have everything,” she said, but nobody wants to pay for it. “You can’t make every body happy.”
She has started her homework with a copy of the current school budget.
“If I can make a difference, that’s a positive thing,” she said.
— Contact Val Van Meter at email@example.com