Susan Shick

WINCHESTER — Of the eight candidates running for the Frederick County School Board in the Nov. 5 election, Gainesboro District candidate Susan Shick is the only one who declined an interview with the Frederick County Education Association (FCEA) in September.

The FCEA — an affiliate of the Virginia Education Association — has more than 750 members who “work collaboratively and organize for action to reach the common goals of the association,” according to online information.

“I’m disappointed she didn’t want to participate,” FCEA President Shaniqua Williams said. “Our union endorses issues not party.”

Following the interviews, the FCEA endorsed the following county School Board candidates: Brian Hester, at-large; Bradley Comstock, Opequon District; Michael Lake, Gainesboro District and James “Jimmy” Smith, Back Creek District.

Questionnaires were sent to candidates in August. Those who responded by the deadline were invited for an interview. In late September, the FCEA announced its endorsements.

Shick, who’s seeking political office for the first time, said she didn’t agree to an FCEA interview because she believes the organization only endorses liberal-leaning candidates.

All Frederick School Board candidates are running as independents in the upcoming election.

Shick added that she wants to show voters in the Gainesboro District that she is more aligned with them and does not need the FCEA’s endorsement.

“That type of endorsement can look like, ‘OK, this is someone who could maybe have their strings pulled,’” Shick told The Star.

Shick believes the FCEA endorsements show that the group supports liberal-leaning candidates. She noted the FCEA did not endorse at-large candidate David Stegmaier or Back Creek District candidate Brandon Monk, who she considers more conservative than their opponents.

“Neither one of them were chosen. There’s a reason for that. I feel the reason is they are the more conservative candidate. I felt as if there was no point in me going to that interview,” Shick said. “I am open and willing to work with everyone, but the outcome of those interviews proves my point as to why had I went to that interview I would have not been chosen.”

Williams disagreed with Shick’s assessment, noting the Virginia Education Association’s Fund for Children and Public Education has endorsed Republican incumbent Sen. Jill Vogel for the 27th District state Senate race (the 27th District includes Frederick County). Vogel’s opponent, Democrat Ronnie Ross, is a schoolteacher in Warrenton.

Williams said someone who wants to be on the School Board should also be someone who wants to hear from teachers.

Shick’s opponent in the race, incumbent School Board member Michael Lake, said “there is no cahoots to be had” between the FCEA and the Frederick County School Board.

“If [Shick] is successful in November, we don’t rebuild that bridge,” Lake said. “What an insult.”

Williams said the School Board and the FCEA don’t always agree, but they have a strong working relationship.

The FCEA also has endorsed the following candidates for Frederick County Board of Supervisors: John Lamanna, chairman; Bob Wells, Opequon District; Heidi David-Young, Gainesboro District and Steve Jennings, Back Creek District.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Charles “Chuck” DeHaven, Gainesboro District Supervisor J. Douglas McCarthy and Back Creek District candidate Shawn Graber declined an interview with the FCEA. All three are on the Nov. 5 ballot.

— Contact Anna Merod at

(13) comments


Good for Ms. Shick. I read the piece twice Just to make sure I got half the truth. I did not see a comment from the candidate specifically stating she was opposed to working with FCEA. In fact I think she is quoted as saying she wanted to work with everyone.

Seems as if Mr. Lake is speaking for FCEA not being willing to work with Ms. Shick if she is elected. Burning bridges and all that. Who started that fire? Strike a nerve did she?

You go girl! You be you. God knows things aren’t getting any better the way they r going now. Is common sense an endangered species?


I hope she wins. I appreciate people who do not sway with the breeze but, instead, hold their ground. If a liberal group doesn't endorse you, that is a plus in my book.

Elaine Aikens

If you are not willing to be endorsed by the FCEA you have no business being on the School Board. The teacher’s voices need to be heard as well. They are educating your children.


No need for a groups endorsement, you need the votes from those you represent. If you are conservative and your community is, your mark is set. Shick seems like a smart choice ! She is not caving to outside pressure.


She is smart because she says she is conservative? If that is your only reason to vote for someone, that is irresponsible.

She is so conservative that she has spent $0 on her campaign. Wait, she has yard signs and T-shirt’s and car decals. Yet none of them are reported on her campaign finance reports. That is required by law. Somehow she will get a pass because she is conservative?

Oh, and how long has she been a conservative? She was courting Indivisible Winchester at the beginning of her candidacy. That is a progressive group.

The school board is in charge of a multi million dollar budget. I want someone who can file a finance report. Lake is more qualified, and by the way, he is a Republican. Apparently he isn’t Republican enough for some in this county.


The most liberal candidate running (Nuri) did not receive the endorsement. Jimmy Smith, a member of the Republican Committee received the endorsement. Her opponent is a Republican. These are not liberals that are being endorsed.

She chose not to answer the questionnaire. She chose not to discuss the issues.

Steve Cunningham

You think they would endorse the ultra left leaning Nuri after his very outrageous activity on social media was brought to attention. They skipped him because he would be toxic, this isn't a very good comparison for you Mullinska to try and support the very liberal FCEA


Nuri lacks the capability to see both sides, his arguments document that.


Nuri also has several social media accounts under different name too argue with people on the same comment thread.


“I am open and willing to work with everyone, but the outcome of those interviews proves my point as to why had I went to that interview I would have not been chosen.” So much wrong with this....

Steve Cunningham

You are right kcinva, it is wrong for the FCEA to conduct these scam interviews when their selections are prechosen.


shes kinda right, these special interest groups are just inviting their brand of politics into a school board race.


I have known several conservative types to run for the school board here in Frederick County and none of them were endorsed by this group. They truly do look for the more liberal minded. So I do not blame her for not wanting to waste her time.

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