A debate is brewing in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, as a group of parents rally together to try and stop the appointment of a new superintendent for the public school system while officials stay tight-lipped about his connection to the school board chair.
The potential nominee in question is Mark Taylor, a former Spotsylvania County administrator and county attorney, who now works for Greene County. He is not an educator, leading some parents to argue that he doesn’t have the proper qualifications to run Spotsylvania County Public Schools.
“Get someone who’s qualified to run our school system,” parent Lizzy Verbel said.
Spotsylvania County School Board Chairman Kirk Twigg defended Taylor’s credentials at a school board meeting earlier in August.
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“This individual is very qualified in a lot of things,” he said.
The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star reported that according to the Virginia State Corporation Commission, Taylor and his wife are directors of Twigg’s nonprofit corporation Emerging Stars.
When Twigg was asked if that was the case, he said, “No comment.”
Multiple attempts to reach Taylor for comment were unsuccessful.
“He’s got no experience with any of that, and yet he wants to run the entire system. It’s a slap in the face to every educated person out there,” parent Richard Lieberman said.
Since Taylor lacks an education background, the Virginia Board of Education would need to approve or certify him for consideration.
Last week, the school board voted 4-3 asking that Taylor get approval for a superintendent license.
The school district said Taylor does have the credentials as outlined in Virginia state code, and it highlighted his past experience as a county administrator and county attorney.
About Taylor’s connection to Twigg, the school system said, “In regards to your other inquiries, those are political questions and would not be appropriate for a public school district to discuss.”
“It looks like old-boy cronyism. It’s really scary,” Lieberman said.
The search for a new leader started earlier this year after the previous superintendent was suddenly fired when a new conservative majority won control of the county school board.
The Virginia Board of Education will meet on Sept. 15 to review Taylor’s candidacy. If approved, the school board would then be able to vote on a contract.