A former Dale City Elementary School teacher who says she offers an insider's perspective has joined the race for the Neabsco District seat on the Prince William County School Board.
Mary F. Williams, who would not give her age, spent 20 years at the school before retiring in 1997. She primarily taught first and fourth grades. During her time there, she served as chairman of the multicultural committee, grade-level chairman for the first grade and textbook selection committee representative. She lives in Dale City.
The other declared candidate in the Neabsco District race is property manager Carlos Labiosa, who is running for a second time. Incumbent John Harper Jr. has chosen not to run again because of his health.
Williams, who lives in Dale City, is married with two adult daughters who graduated from Gar-Field High School. She said her involvement with the schools would be an asset to the board.
"Having worked with children for so many years and knowing the inside, I felt I could bring that to the table," Williams said.
Williams says the school board should continue to upgrade schools and expand partnerships with businesses and the community.
She also has ideas on how the county can recruit teachers. "First of all, the salary needs to continue to be improved," she said, adding that teachers also might be lured by improved health insurance and other benefits.
In another School Board campaign announcement, incumbent Lyle G. Beefelt, 39, said he plans to run again for the Brentsville District seat.
"There's still more work to do. We started but we still haven't finished what we set out to do," he said.
Beefelt, a financial analyst, has lived in the county for 29 years and is married with four children.
He has been a key figure in one of the School Board's most contentious issues this year: the construction of a middle school in the far western region of the county.
The middle school will be built in the Gainesville District. Beefelt said one of his highest priorities would be to bring a middle school to his district, in the Linton Hall area. School officials have talked about building there, but it is not yet in the five-year construction and school improvement plan.
Beefelt said he also would like to focus on curriculum improvements. Soon the county will have the results of the Standards of Learning tests taken this spring and will be able to start making curriculum changes, he said.
"One of the biggest things over the next term is to start the nuts and bolts of school improvement," Beefelt said.
With Beefelt's declaration, only one incumbent, Charles J. Colgan III (Gainesville), has not said whether he plans to seek re-election. Two other candidates are running in Gainesville: Gail Johnson and Don Richardson.
In other races: Incumbents Lucy S. Beauchamp (At Large), John David Allen Sr. (Coles) and Joan R. Ferlazzo (Dumfries) are running unopposed thus far. Keith Scarborough and Steve Wassenberg are vying for the Occoquan seat as incumbent Linda H. Lutes is stepping down. Incumbent Steven Keen and Dennis Stewart are running for the Woodbridge District seat.