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October 30, 2019

Q&As: 3 candidates running for Scott school board seat

Mike Hammond, Shelly Norden and Suzanne Sloane.
Scott District voters have three choices in the election for their representative on the Fauquier County School Board.

Freshman member Suzanne Sloane stresses her experience in seeking re-election to a second, four-year term. A career educator, Ms. Sloane won a three-way race for the open seat in 2015.

Mike Hammond, a technology manager and parent, touts his leadership experience.

Shelly Norden, a veteran teacher in the county school system, focuses on hiring and retaining certified instructors.

The winner will help set policy and the budget for a system with 11,000 students, 2,000 employees and 20 schools. The school board decides how to allocate its funds but lacks taxing authority under Virginia law. The school board also hears appeals of student discipline decisions and hires/evaluates the superintendent.

> Click here to read the Q&A with Mr. Hammond.

> Click here to read the Q&A with Ms. Norden.

> Click here to read the Q&A with Ms. Sloane.

FauquierNow will publish questionnaires that all candidates for contested county and state legislative offices (representing Fauquier) completed.

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stephysue · November 7, 2019 at 10:43 pm
Go locate a twitter post of Troy Sloane please. Enough Said. Well not really, there is a actually a lot to say. The below is most appropriate applied here.
Silii · November 5, 2019 at 10:06 am
Anyone threatening a lawsuit should know not to do so on social media. Posting all your personnel issues on social media - also not becoming. The message -I would never trust her to respect confidentiality of personnel issues or private constituent issues. All this drama she creates around herself is just unbecoming, it's all about her. Does she really think taxpayers care about her trials and tribulations and confrontational approach to problem solving? The school board does not need a drama queen. I
stephysue · November 4, 2019 at 11:07 am
Bravo to Ms. Norden for being candid and transparent along her journey.
stephysue · November 4, 2019 at 10:57 am
Excellent! Now that is post worthy. Factual .. not slanted with an opinion. Given that.. people can decide on their own with out muddled suggestions.
EducatedCitizen · November 4, 2019 at 10:55 am
quote, from the Shelly Norden for School Board FB page:

Shelly Norden posting: "I asked a person who was posting defamatory remarks about my personnel file - to remove them or I’d have a lawyer handle it"

Also from the same FB page:
Shelly Norden posting: "My day ended, however, with a hand delivered letter from HR that once again brought up the picture taken in my classroom for an article about my campaign in Fauquier Now...The picture was taken at 4pm. I've been warned that teachers can't use their job for political gain."
stephysue · November 4, 2019 at 10:43 am
Really? Come on? Suing Constituents? That’s a great way to deflect. The context of this issue has additional details and a posting with out documentation of the conversation is only hearsay.
EducatedCitizen · November 4, 2019 at 9:43 am
I just heard from an aquaintence that Shelly Norden sent a PM to a citizen at 1am in the morning(what?)threatening to sue them for sharing information Shelly herself posted on her campaign Facebook about her repeated run-ins and write-ups she has recieved from School Administration and HR. Wow. That is not normal. (note, Shelly admitted she sent the message on a Facebook post, so this is not hearsay).

How will she react when things get dicey at budget cycle time and citizens want action? Will she threaten to sue her constituents???
stephysue · November 4, 2019 at 8:01 am
On the contrary... someone who can minimize this tshirt incident and post that Ms. Norden “ Freaked Out” is seriously and grossly misinformed. Most found it tasteless, tacky and downright dirty. So much so a petition was started against Ms. Sloan. Supporters of Ms. Sloan want to sweep that under the carpet and continue to use “experience” as the main factor here. The “experienced one” is the root of the downward decline of the school system. Supporters of Ms. Sloan, are supporting and unbalanced structure and over pay at the top. I’m proud of Ms. Norden for challenging this. Someone whose experience is in question.. . Seems to me like she’s a pretty smart cookie for recognizing it for one and the proving the factual evidence to back it up.
Silii · November 4, 2019 at 7:29 am
Anyone freaked and angry about what their students wear to school doesn't belong on the school board. Good heavens, the school board faces much more important issues than that and needs members who meet a much higher professional level than that. Ms. Norden, from her own and her supporters' posts, is also known as being very confrontational. Sorry, that's not the way to identify and solve problems in a mature and professional way. Were I a teacher in the system I would never, ever want her making any decisions about my employment. Believe me, in a professional situation, immature confrontational behavior is not welcome and in the long run leaves that person behind in the dust due to lack of any credibility. Ms. Norden already has no credibility. Taxpayers need better than that.
stephysue · November 2, 2019 at 10:09 am
Seems to me that’s the problem. Is the current way of thinking working? Appears not. I would think, that there is HUGE value from a fresh face, who has 18 experience not in any other friend but in education. Someone who has been in the trenches. Shows like Undercover Boss tapped into learning what workers did on a ground level. Ms. Norden is for change. Unbalanced structure and over pay at the top needs to be looked at.
Silii · November 2, 2019 at 9:40 am
Commenters on Ms. Norden's behalf, thus reflecting Ms. Norden herself, continue to show that Ms. Norden is not a big issue, big system thinker. A serious issue to her is her being offended by the t shirts her students wear to class. Really? Sorry, that just isn't school board material. Her supporters dissed an opponent for not having a college education, thereby insulting everyone pursuing and in the trades or other post-secondary education and avocations, and suggested that only teachers know the sacrifices necessary to get a college degree and advanced degree. Looking at national student loan data suggests that millions of people are sacrificing to get their higher education. She asserts that Mr. Hammond isn't qualified because he has never taught. Well, let's carry that thinking through - Ms. Norden isn't qualified because for at least the past 18 years she has been in the classroom and, therefore, has never managed multi-million dollar contracts, hasn't developed broad-based business experience, has never developed and negotiated multi-million dollar budgets nor had oversight of same. Her world for at least 18 years has been a high school classroom. laudable, but not qualifying to be on the school board and have to face serious, diverse issues. If our school system is to grow and be vibrant in the 21st century, we need school members who have the background, ability to think towards the future, analytical skills, willing to make change, able to roll with the punches and keep cool, get along with people rather than be confrontational.
stephysue · November 2, 2019 at 6:42 am
This is how the telephone game goes horribly wrong. Bad interpretations of the content. Agree this was cleverly written with subtle suggestions to the reader that the specific instances being referred to be viewed in a negative light.

Example.: Referencing Ms. Nordens comment about being written up by the school board. How did you make a leap for her having a problem with her employer? There is zero factual evidence to support that thought. It’s these types of reckless statements that convolute the facts.

I think you pretty much regurgitated Ms. Norden’s post.. she agreed not everyone is going to like you .

“As a teacher, not every child likes you. After 18 years in the classroom, I realize I’ve had, and currently have, students who are not my biggest fans. I work hard to fix any conflicts with ALL students but Mrs. Sloane almost destroyed that today.
As with all kids- some like you one day and hate you the next”.

It’s in poor taste to minimize the incident that took place with the tshirts. Mocking Ms. Norden’s ability to handle such is a grave insult and a diversion.

Given Ms. Sloans conflict of interest of the K12 program regardless of re-election. She should have recognized the conflict and made a choice between the two. News Flash—— Just because she was re-elected while doing both does not make it right.
Jerdossy · November 1, 2019 at 10:42 pm
I was told by a friend to ‘go see’ Ms. Norden’s campaign Facebook page to see what she was all about. Wow, what an eyeful I got:
- She brags about being written up by the Central Office for electioneering activities on school grounds, but then points a finger at Ms. Sloane when her son mistakenly brought campaign shirts to school. I see many posts from her about, “Well, I got written up by the Central Office again….” – does she have a beef with her employer and THAT is why she’s running for School Board? I can’t help but think so after reading her campaign page posts.
- Ms. Norden goes on at length about how she felt bullied that students in her class wore Sloane t-shirts in her classroom. Unfortunately, being an elected official means you will be approached almost daily with people who are angry about a vote or a position – how will she handle the pressure of constituents with real problems if she can’t handle some high schoolers in t-shirts?
- She blames our county teachers on low SOL scores, when in fact, the SOL scores in Virginia have gone down consistently the last few years and Fauquier’s match the state averages. I don’t see much support for her fellow teachers in those charged statements and seems to blame them for the whole of Virginia’s test scores.
- She denigrates our new teacher hires for having provisional licenses, when it’s the law in Virginia for new teachers coming from other professions through recruitment programs like Career Switchers or Troops to Teachers to hold provisional licenses for 1 to 3 years, regardless of their educational background. Ms. Norden also admits that she herself had a provisional license when she started teaching. Would she want all our wonderful new teachers gone because they have state-required provisional licenses? Why does that not apply to her?
- She says we’ve lost 1/3 of our teachers, when in fact, Fauquier loses about 10-12% of teachers any given year in the past several years (which are replaced each year). That is hovering right at the Virginia state average. Considering how vastly underpaid our teachers are, it’s amazing it’s not 33%, but still, that number is very misleading.
- Speaking about our county’s class size – she has a support letter and a post on her campaign page saying she’s for looking at INCREASING our class sizes to help save money. Well maybe when she’s on the board and no longer has to teach, she won’t mind sticking our teachers with 30-35 kids per class like our surrounding counties?
- She appears to be supporting and promoting a petition to have Ms. Sloane resign from the school board simply because she works for K12. Well, newsflash, she HAS worked for that company since before she was on the school board and was still elected in 2015. It appears Ms. Norden may be at least partially behind the petition and its odd timing, JUST before a school board election. That stinks of dirty politics in my book.
So, after careful review of her own campaign page, it’s clear Ms. Norden seems to bring on the drama, but not much else of substance.
Silii · November 1, 2019 at 6:16 pm
Wow. Thanks for insulting every student who pursues the trades and post-secondary education at art institutes, technical institutes, community colleges, IT institutions, nursing school... I'm sorry you and through you, the candidate you support, believe all those people are inferior because they don't go to college. Thank you, too, for emphasizing that Ms Norden is a single issue candidate. Quite frankly, the public schools and taxpayers deserve school board members with a broad array of professional experience, talents and skills in order to address the complex issues influencing school divisions and to bring much needed diversity. School divisions are complex entities with many sub-systems of equal importance necessary to keep the division functioning and operational while meeting relevant federal and state laws, regulations, policies, and directives. Broad based experience is needed, not experience in only one area. But, keep sliging the mud and making outrageously false allegations; it truly devalues you and your candidate.
Silii · October 31, 2019 at 10:37 am
Running a school district requires, leading long term systemic change, requires the ability to think "big" across multiple areas. It's easy to state perceived problems, it's something entirely different to know how to approach solving those problems within a complex public system. Of course, all the candidates have deeply held, legitimate reasons for running for school board. The difference lies in their credentials.

As a member and chair of the school board, Ms. Sloane has had her chance to address the problems she and other candidates describe. Why does the teacher turnover crisis still exist without a viable plan to solve it after her tenure? Why do serious budgetary problems continue to exist without clear plans to resolve them? Ms. Sloane has put in her time but clearly has not been able to get the job done. Thank her for her service knowing our children don't have time for the same ol' same ol' proven inability to get the job done.

Ms. Norden's experience is in the classroom. That is laudable and that is where her professional expertise shines. Unfortunately, professional expertise in the classroom does not automatically transfer and morph into the business acumen needed to run a big business, i.e., a multi million dollar school system.

Mr. Hammond has broad based business experience and an analytical, multi-faceted approach to problem solving as evidenced by his project management background. He can hit the ground running because of his credentials. For instance, his comment about individuals and team building reveals an important skill needed to successfully achieve goals. He is the only candidate who has clearly examined current and previous school budgets and has already identified approaches for change. He is the only candidate to address the complex issues of state and federal education funding, including state allocation of funds to school districts.

We don't need a school board member without the professional skillset needed on the school board no matter how passionate she is. We don't need an incumbent who has shown the inability to solve the problems. We need someone with a business approach, someone who can research and intricately define problems (including public input), propose paths to solutions, negotiate final approaches, then get the job done.
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