City Council chooses new school board member

WILLIAMSBURG — The City Council filled the city's vacant school board slot Thursday, appointing Julie Hummel to the seat opened by the resignation of Elise Emanuel.

Hummel was the first, and for a while the only, candidate to emerge for the seat on the Williamsburg-James City County School Board.

Eventually, former Richmond Public Schools teacher and administrator Delores Bagby and former drama teacher and owner of a landscaping design business Linda Hertzler expressed interest in the position.

Emanuel, who served 12 years on the board, endorsed Hummel.

City Council members said during last month's public hearing that they believed they had a wealth of good candidates. Mayor Clyde Haulman reiterated that in statement Thursday.

"From an exceptional pool of candidates, Ms. Hummel embodied experience with education, knowledge of the community and vision for our schools that make her an outstanding choice for our school board," he said. "Council and I look forward to working with her to ensure the best for all our community's children.

Hummel, a graduate of Lafayette High School, earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a Masters of Education from the College of William and Mary. She now works at the college as the associate director of development and innovation at the Mason School of Business. She's a past president of the Matthew Whaley Elementary School PTA, served on the school board's task force for redistricting and worked as a substitute teacher at Berkeley Middle School and Matoaka Elementary School.

"Our school system does a lot things really well, but we should always be in a mode of continuous improvement," Hummel said. "I am not seeking this position for any particular issue or viewpoint. I am interested in how we can deliver the best school system for our students within the framework of state and federal mandates and our budget."

Hummel joins Kyra Cook as the city's two representative on the seven-member W-JCC School Board.

Council also re-appointed two members of the Planning Commission, David Julien and current chairman Demetrios Florakis to new four-year terms.

Florakis is under indictment on charges of grand larceny, a case with goes to trial Jan. 4.

In other business, Council:

•granted an easement to let Dominion Power put a stretch of power line adjacent to Waller's Mill Reservoir underground. Public works director Dan Clayton said the change was being made to improve reliability during storms. Vice Mayor Paul Freiling said the city should encourage Dominion when they want to put line underground.

•approved the start of a city project to put power lines underground on S. Henry Street.

•acted in solidarity with Hampton and Poquoson to ask the General Assembly to adopt a law restricting high speed travel through flood zones, that might create a wake and flood previously un-flooded property.

•approved a change to the city's animal control ordinance that bans the keeping of exotic pets without a permit and bans wolf-hybrid dogs in the city.

•adopted an administrative policy for reviewing request for funds from the city's Tourism Contingency Fund.

Vaughan can be reached at (757)345-2343.

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