The Loudoun County School Board voted seven to one to elect former member Tom Marshall to the board. On Tuesday, the board left a closed meeting and immediately voted on the motion to appoint Marshall with little comment. Only Member John Beatty voted against Marshall, who was sworn in and seated immediately after the vote.
“The board has considered all criteria, including the public interest. Tom Marshall has served the district of Leesburg for over eight years, and has an extensive career in education, and will be able to return to his former seat knowing the staff and having firsthand experience with the budget cycle as well as strategic planning which we look forward to working on throughout the next year,” Member Denise Corbo said before the vote.
According to his resume, Marshall is a former educator and worked for 30 years in the Fairfax County Public Schools administration. He was a realtor for 19 years in Leesburg. He served two terms on the Loudoun County School Board: 2008-2011, and 2016-2019. His term will end in December 2022, after the November election.
In a December 7 interview with the board, Marshall said, “One of my top priorities would be to first assess the trust of parents concerning the policies of the school board. I actually suspect there’s more support than one might think even though, given the orchestrated reactions over transgender rights and so-called Critical Race Theory-inspired criticism might have indicated. We have to get to the bottom of that and restore the confidence if in fact it is lacking. I want to contribute as a responsible board member to a harmonious and collaborative effort in order to discern what steps will have to be taken to ensure, for the majority of our parents, that we are doing a legitimate and beneficial job in the interests of all students, and acceptable to the wider public, by communicating that more effectively and utilizing to a greater extent than ever our own public relations office.”
He said he wanted to use the public relations office to highlight accomplishments and explain complicated policy decisions. He also said teachers need to know that the board listens to them.
Marshall is filling a vacancy left in the Leesburg district after Beth Barts resigned amid pressure from conservatives, including a recall effort led by Fight for Schools. Thirteen candidates applied for the seat.
In a Tuesday ad, Fight for Schools criticized several of the candidates for the seat and urged the public to email its thoughts to the board ahead of the vote. Although the ad didn’t name Marshall, it included his picture under the message, “No more political activists in our schools.”
“There are many good choices, but some would be more of the same divisive political activism in our schools,” the ad said.
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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Tom Marshall” by Tom Marshall For Loudoun County School Board – Leesburg District.