W-JCC School Board to elect newest member Friday

Vacant Powhatan seat to be filled by W-JCC School Board Friday

Story was updated at 4:13 to reflect that Brian Stokes and Patti Deblass are no longer candidates. 


WILLIAMSBURG- By Friday night the open seat on the Williamsburg-James City County School Board will be occupied.

The board will be conducting its final round of interviews at 5 p.m. Friday to fill the Powhatan-JCC seat that was vacated by former school-board member Joe Fuentes on Jan. 15.

Betsy Overkamp-Smith, the district's director of public relations and engagement, said the board will not leave until they have elected a candidate. 

Whoever is elected by the board will serve through the end of 2016, and their seat will be up for election in November. 

Lisa Ownby, Jill Dalton, Mary Minor, David Dafashy and Frank Abbott are the five candidates vying for the seat. Each candidate spoke before the school board at a public hearing on Feb. 9, touting their involvement with the community and experience in education. 

The candidate will be joining a board that has seen its share of turnover in the past months and could have implications for the plans to build a fourth middle school at the James Blair site. 

Holly Taylor (Stonehouse) and Sandra Young (Berkeley) both ran successful reform campaigns in November's election, citing their opposition to the fourth middle school. 

James W. Beers (Roberts) was elected in November as well, but he supports the fourth middle school plan, telling the Gazette "the horse is out of the barn and the door is closed."

Copyright © 2018, The Virginia Gazette