Fairfax County school board member Kathy Smith declared her candidacy Thursday for the Sully District supervisor seat being vacated by long-time incumbent Michael Frey, who announced earlier this week that he will not be seeking re-election in November.

“Education has always been my top priority in running for office and that is why I have always declined running for higher office in the past,” Smith, (D-Sully) said in a statement emailed to media outlets.

“Now, with Michael Frey’s retirement, I see an opportunity to work on broader issues of concern in our community,” the 13-year school board member said.

The surprise announcement by Frey (R-Sully) that he plans to retire from the board of supervisors sparked immediate speculation over who would replace the northwestern county district’s first and only supervisor. Frey, 58, was elected into his office in 1990, when the Sully District was created due to the area’s increasing population.

Republican Brian Schoeneman, the Fairfax County electoral board secretary, announced his candidacy for the office on Tuesday.

Both candidates have already received early endorsements. Smith is backed by county board chairman Sharon Bulova (D-At large.) Schoeneman is supported by Republican county supervisor Pat Herrity (Springfield.)