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Three seek Galax School Board seats

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By April Wright, Reporter

Three candidates — including incumbents Stewart Merdian and Dr. Jim Adams and retired school administrator and educator Patricia Weaver — will vie for two seats on Galax School Board.

Merdian and Adams' terms are set to expire June 30.

After interested citizens submitted letters of interest, a public hearing was held during the Feb. 22 Galax City Council meeting to hear a brief introduction from and conduct interviews with each of the candidates. The interviews were conducted in closed session.

Council will announce appointments at its March 8 meeting.

The terms are for three years, running July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2013.

Dr. Jim Adams

Adams has served on the school board for two terms. Adams' two children graduated from Galax High School and are now college students, he told council.

“I am proud of my contributions to the board over the last seven years and believe that my voice has been instrumental in the changes to our school system during that time, including more transparency in the decision-making process, a strong community involvement, a major building project, increasing expectations among our professional staff, the selection of a new superintendent and — most importantly — improved student achievement,” he wrote in a letter of interest to City Manager Keith Barker.

“It has been my honor to serve our community on the school board, and I look forward to continuing that service for another term...”

Adams said each member contributes their own area of expertise. He believes his knowledge of construction is a contribution to the board and the city.

Stewart Merdian

Merdian has served three years on the Galax School Board.

Merdian has resided in Galax for nine years and has two children in the school system.

“I am proud of them and the effect the school has had on my children,” he told council. “The school system exceeds my expectations.”

Merdian said that he is willing to take on the budget challenges when it comes to planning the next fiscal year.

“Thank you for your past appointment, and I look forward to serving again,” he said.

Patricia Weaver

Weaver, who has lived in Galax for eight years, has been a professional educator since 1972. She has served as principal, assistant principal, teacher and most recently as technology director in public schools in Virginia and North Carolina.

Weaver is also a mother of three and has a grandchild that will soon enter school.

“I know and understand the increasing pressures displayed at the board and school level, from accountability to financial responsibility,” she wrote.

Her experience with education has been from kindergarten to junior college. She has an advanced degree from Appalachian State University and the University of Virginia in public school administration, technology and high stakes accountability.

She also served on Mark Warner's Virginia School Turnaround Specialists program.

“I feel this level of experience and support would benefit my local school system...,” she said. “I have also owned and operated my own business, so I know how important this relationship is when it comes to supporting schools educationally, athletically and financially. I managed the largest budget in the school system as technology director.

“It would be exciting to be a member of your board, to work with city officials and see education make the difference in our trying economy.”