Did you know that one school board association has monopolized Virginia for the past 116 years? Well, a group of people decided that should change.

Today on The State of Education, Melvin talks to Sherri Story and Cheryl Facciani, who are part of the team behind Virginia’s new School Board Member Alliance. Sherri and Cheryl have very different life stories, but they share a common experience: being the dissenting voices on their local school boards. Plus, they love their kids and want to do what they can to create safe educational spaces for the next generation. The SBMA was founded to empower other school members to do the same.

“Through this alliance, we’ve created a group of folks who do think alike, who do want the same things, who feel like we’re not being heard, we’re not being represented and we’re told to step in line. Together we can galvanize and get things accomplished by leaning on each other and asking questions.” — Cheryl Facciani

Below is a recap of today’s discussion:

  • Sherri Story introduces herself and outlines her experiences as a mom, grandma, and biology teacher
  • How funding and transparency issues got her interested in running for school board
  • After running for school board and winning, Sherri began to wonder why she wasn’t allowed to ask questions or access important data
  • Next, Cheryl Facciani tells us about herself, her background as a speech-language pathologist, and the people who inspired her
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, Cheryl was afraid her children—some of whom have autoimmune diseases—would be forced by the school system to take the vaccine. She was also disturbed by the masking and lockdowns.
  • Cheryl began meeting with other parents to discuss the problems, which soon led her to think about running for school board
  • How is the training available for new school board members faulty? What was Sherri hoping to accomplish by founding a new association with different training?
  • How school board members are shut down and told to go along with what the superintendent and attorney want
  • Why is there no interaction between school board members and the teachers and parents they are representing? How can we fix that?
  • What makes a public school public?
  • Finally, Sherri and Cheryl share a few more of their personal experiences serving on local Virginia school boards and how they hope to create change

If you’d rather watch the video version of our podcast episodes, subscribe to our YouTube channel to get notified every Wednesday when new episodes launch. Here is today’s conversation with Sherri & Cheryl:


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