Prince William School Board names Wooten to Occoquan slot

June 25, 2012

It was a busy week for Prince William County schools, as the School Board selected a new member to fill a vacant slot, dedicated two schools and signed a contract with a company that promises to reduce energy consumption.

Deliberations about who should replace Grant Lattin, who resigned his Occoquan slot in May to spend more time with his family, were held behind closed doors Wednesday. School Board members emerged with a unanimous pick: Michael E. Wooten.

Wooten, one of 13 applicants for the interim post, teaches contract management at Defense Acquisition University and has worked with the school system through a taekwondo partnership. His two children attended county schools, according to a news release.

Wooten’s LinkedIn profile shows that he serves on the board of Northern Virginia Community College, is a past vice chairman of the Prince William County Republican Committee and was a commanding officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Wooten was out of town last week and couldn’t be reached for comment.

Chairman Milton C. Johns (At Large) said he would not comment on discussions the School Board had behind closed doors but said Wooten, for him, was a complete package. Johns said he looked at “each applicant as a whole.”

“He has a distinguished record of service in the Marine Corps and in the community,” Johns said. “All of those areas make him a very strong candidate to serve on the board.”

Voters will choose a permanent replacement Nov. 6.

Prince William also had ribbon-cuttings for Ronald W. Reagan Middle School in Haymarket and Pace West school last week. Pace West, an alternative school in Gainesville, will serve about 130 students in kindergarten through 12th grade who have special needs.

The School Board also inked a five-year deal with Energy Education, a Dallas company that works with school districts to reduce energy consumption. The company asks that school systems hire three people to implement changes.

As payment, the company would keep 35 percent of the savings, according to a county presentation. The program is not expected to cost the school system anything, because savings should pay for the cost of the program and reduce long-term costs, according to the schools.

The company projects that the county will net $19.5 million through savings in five years, according to a county presentation.

Johns said the company has not spelled out all the methods it would use to accomplish the savings, but school officials think the company’s software and the use of internal employees to encourage buy-in to the conservation program have been successful in other school systems.

“We were told it won’t cost us anything,” Johns said. “That was the final deciding factor for me.”

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