Marie Imoh

Marie Imoh

WINCHESTER — The Winchester School Board has selected Marie Imoh to be its new chairwoman for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.

Imoh was selected as chair by board members during the organizational portion of a special meeting held Thursday night. Karen Holman will continue to serve as the board’s vice chairwoman for fiscal year 2021.

Former Winchester School Board Chairwoman Erica Truban temporarily took on the role again in July after serving as chairwoman from 2014 to 2017. She stepped up to be chairwoman after Allyson Pate left the board after her four-year term expired and the board voted to downsize from nine to seven members last year.

The board also switched from an appointed body to one elected by city residents after local voters approved the change in a 2019 referendum.

Because the board went through its first election in November, Truban said in July that she would only hold the position as chair through the end of 2020, allowing the board to vote for a new chairperson in 2021.

Imoh has served as an appointed member of the board for the past five years, and city residents recently voted for her to serve as the first elected at-large school board member starting this year.

Shortly after she was elected chairwoman Thursday night, Imoh said it already feels different to serve on the board after going through an election versus serving as an appointed member by City Council.

“There is a different investment when you actually run for your seat rather than be appointed, so I’m very honored to be sitting here tonight,” Imoh said.

The clinical director at the National Counseling Group for the Northern Virginia region, Imoh is also a strong advocate for mental health in schools. The National Counseling Group provides mental health services for individuals and families throughout the state.

Imoh also served in the U.S. Army on active duty for eight years.

“What you can expect from me is to continue with lead to fidelity with our policies, our strategic plan, to the code of Virginia and to our school board code of conduct,” she said Thursday night. “I will always strive to make myself available to Winchester Public Schools as a whole, my fellow board members and our broader community.”

She added that the School Board often faces several challenging decisions in any given year. Some controversial decisions the board has faced in the past year included the employment status of former Handley High School principal Mike Dufrene as well as how to reopen schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic last fall.

“I can ensure you that we are eager to, and will continue to, listen to all sides of any issues and make necessary considerations,” Imoh said.

— Contact Anna Merod at amerod@winchesterstar.com

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