There will be some changes in Rappahannock County in the year to come.
November 2011 was already scheduled to see more than a few county posts come up for election: the three county supervisors and three school board members from Hampton, Jackson and Wakefield districts, for example. The sheriff. The commissioner of revenue. The county treasurer. The commonwealth’s attorney.
Last December, Peter Luke, commonwealth’s attorney here since 1984, announced he would not seek re-election. (Almost immediately, two candidates announced their intentions to seek the office.)
Last month, Toni Egger, executive director of the Headwaters Foundation, which funds several major programs at Rappahannock public schools, announced she’d be leaving the post later this year.
And last week, Stonewall-Hawthorne District school board member Beth Hilscher, elected only last year, announced that, for family- and business-related reasons, she and her husband would be moving to Richmond. Her last day on the job is March 31.
No candidates for her job have immediately announced any intentions.
Like Piedmont District school board member Aline Johnson — now the only school board member whose seat is not up for grabs this November — Hilscher ran unopposed for the Stonewall-Hawthorne seat last year. In recent years, school board members have not been easy to find.
Hampton District school board member Meredith Gorfein told the Rappahannock News she won’t be seeking reelection; chairman Wes Mills and member Rosa Crocker haven’t specified their plans. In an email this week, Mills did say that his work “is requiring much travel recently and I fear I am not able to dedicate sufficient time to meet expectations of the office. I will evaluate by June and make plans then.”
Both Mills and Hilscher, however, were upbeat about what school stewardship might entail in the coming months and years. The board is advertising, by the way, for an interim replacement for Hilscher who’d then have to seek election in November.
“Our public schools are in great shape, under very capable leadership and enjoying a great relationship with the board of supervisors,” Mills wrote. “Our administration, faculty and staff are fantastic. All are focused on what’s best for the student, especially our new superintendent, Dr. [Aldridge] Boone.”
“I can’t emphasize how strongly I feel that this community needs to insure that a capable person comes forth and fills that [interim] seat,” said Hilscher, who also said, “I can’t believe how hard it is for me to leave the school board. I feel like I was doing things there that have made me feel I was making a difference.”
“I get very worried sometimes about our local government,” Hilscher said, “and about getting candidates to come forth and run for office. I’m very sad to think that I ran unopposed in November.”
On the other hand, “I’m very happy about Al Boone being here,” said Hilscher, who noted that after she and husband Eric move to Richmond, she will still be boarding her horse, Jack, at Heather Marsh’s stables in Rappahannock — so she’ll be back in the county at least once a week.
“I’m very happy that that we have a new principal at the high school. I’m very happy with this proposed new budget. And I’m very excited that we are finally moving forward with the facilities improvements. I don’t see us needing to build new schools here. We need to do this.”