ASHLAND -- Four candidates placed their names in nomination for the South Anna District seat on the Hanover County School Board during last Wednesday’s meeting of the Hanover County Board of Supervisors.
The appointee will replace former representative Sue Dibble, who resigned the seat to assume her slot representing South Anna on the board of supervisors.
Dibble will announce her decision at the Jan. 22 meeting of the supervisors. In the interim, she said she plans to meet with all of the candidates and study the resumes.
Hanover County is the largest school district in the Commonwealth utilizing the appointed school board system. Most districts elect their local school boards.
Dibble was appointed by former supervisor Wayne Hazzard in 2013.
Each of the prospective candidates spoke at last week’s meeting, outlining their qualifications for the position.
Amy Cheeley, the mother of three children associated with Hanover County Public Schools, has lived in the county for three decades.
“I bring a wealth of experience in local government and community advocacy and a myriad of ideas and enthusiasm for our children and their futures,” she said.
Cheeley’s past experience includes service as a classroom tutor, room parent, and volunteer in county schools. She also participated in programs like Reading Olympics.
Cheeley was a nominee for the South Anna seat in 2013, and said she would not support a salary increase for school board members.
“Our school board is already compensated fairly and I would prefer to keep salaries commensurate with the per pupil average for our area,” she said.
Kelly Evko also is being considered for the South Anna seat and is the parent of two daughters, both graduates of Hanover schools.
“I began volunteering in Hanover schools when Taylor (daughter) entered kindergarten,” Evko said. “My focus in the beginning was supporting the staff and working in the classroom.”
She was active in the PTA and supported numerous fundraising efforts for her daughters’ schools.
Evko said she has spent the last 25 years working in business development, sales leadership, and marketing, including tenures at two Fortune 500 companies.
“I have extensive experience in leading small groups in strategies, budgets, and business development,” Evko said. “I’m not afraid to ask questions and look for creative solutions.”
Evko said her experience well prepares her for the challenges of the position.
“I believe my extensive business experience, combined with my understanding of the needs of parents students, teachers and the key administrators, will allow me to be an asset to the board,” Evko said.
Alfred Cappellanti also submitted his name for consideration, and listed his experience in education as a critical factor in his desire to seek the position.
“I am a retired educator with over 36 years of experience, having been a school counselor, guidance director, and assistant principal, and principal,” Cappellanti said.
Following his retirement in 2016, he has continued to work with young people as a substitute teacher and homebound instructor in Hanover County.
“In the past two years I have been working with specific elementary students as a therapeutic day treatment counselor at Beaverdam Elementary [School],” Cappellanti told board members.
He said his vast experience provides a “perspective other candidates may not have and makes me a viable candidate.”
Bob May also is vying for the vacated seat, and has a recognizable voice in the community. He’s the football and basketball announcer for Randolph-Macon College and Patrick Henry High School home games.
“I served 26 years in the United States Army and retired as a lieutenant colonel,” May said. “We chose to raise our children in Hanover County due to the quality of education in our county,” the father of three said.
“Our three children are all college graduates, married, and starting their own lives, all thanks to the solid foundation they received by having a Hanover County education,” May said.
Since his retirement, May said he has remained active in his community through his volunteer service that includes duties as a Little League coach, responsibilities at his church, and efforts to assist the homeless.
May was a small business owner as a government contractor following his retirement, and currently serves as CFO for a small veteran-owned business.
“I am an accomplished leader, a decision maker, a public speaker, instructor, and manager,” May said. “My deep affection for the Hanover County school system has led me to this decision, and I would cherish the opportunity to serve on the school board and aid in preserving a tradition of excellence in Hanover schools,” May concluded.
“I think your job is not going to be easy, Ms. Dibble, because you have some outstanding candidates,” board chair Aubrey “Bucky” Stanley said following the candidates’ remarks.
“Having been on the school board for the past six and one half years, this appointment is very important for me,” Dibble said. “Hanover County schools is a rock solid organization.”