Eight people are vying for a seat on the Hanover County School Board.
The Mechanicsville District’s seat on the seven-member council expires June 30. Hanover is one of 16 localities in Virginia that appoints members to its school board. There is no public election; rather, council members are appointed by the County Board of Supervisors for staggered four-year terms. Mechanicsville’s supervisor is W. Canova Peterson.
Each individual nominated themselves publicly at the April 27 Board of Supervisors meeting, or were nominated by someone else. A ninth nominee – Chris Cray – was nominated by another person at that meeting, although Cray has since declined the nomination.
Each nominee will be interviewed by Peterson and the full Supervisory Board will vote on the nomination at its May 25 meeting.
The Times-Dispatch asked each candidate a series of questions. Their answers will be broadcast daily until Sunday. The candidate of the day is Johnny Redd.
WHO: Originally from Hanover and former member of the Hanover school board, Johnny Red holds a degree in accounting from East Carolina University and a master’s degree in taxation from Virginia Commonwealth University. A chartered accountant for 49 years, he opened his own practice in 1984. He served on the school board from 1980 to 1984. He and his wife, Terry Oatman, have two adult sons.
QUESTION: What prompted you to nominate yourself? What qualities would you bring to the Hanover County School Board?
REDD: I was nominated because I made myself available to serve as a conservative and Christian voice on the school board, [and] many residents of Hanover support my nomination.
I have school board experience, having served on the board as a Cold Harbor representative from 1980 to 1984. I know what it takes to represent the citizens of my district and county. It takes time — and I have time — since I am semi-retired from public accounting. I can devote most of my time to the issues facing the school board.
I also have longevity in Hanover County – deep roots. I’ve lived here all my life, [and] my wife has lived here all her life. My business is here; most of my clients are residents of Hannover. I raised my family here and attend church in Hanover County at Fairmont Christian Church.
I have connections with the citizens of Hanover, so I know what they think. I have had tax clients who are Hannover teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers. I can’t imagine any other candidate with roots as deep as mine.
My experience as a CPA in public practice for 49 years has provided me with a wealth of financial insight.
My gray hair indicates that I’ve been here for a while. I was on the school board as a representative for the Cold Harbor District before most of the other candidates for that seat on the Mechanicsville District School Board were even born. I was practicing public accounting years before most of the other candidates were even a thought in their parents’ heads. Why is this important? Because the problems facing this school board today were unimaginable just a few years ago. Whoever fills the Mechanicsville District seat on the school board will need maturity, discernment, and wisdom. These qualities do not come easily; they are developed over years of life experience.
QUESTION: What are the most pressing issues or challenges facing schools in Hanover County? How would you approach them?
REDD: A major problem we are currently facing is distraction. Attention shifts away from core educational goals, with attention diverted to social issues such as the CRT, transgender toilets, or one group’s “rights” versus another group’s “rights.” My attention will be focused on returning to the primary purpose of the Hanover County Public Schools – the education of students, not the indoctrination of students, not the promotion of social change that is illogical, immoral, and/or ungodly. .
A biblical worldview will be the lens I will use to analyze policies and programs. Our country was established under biblical principles, precepts and commandments. Our freedoms are given to us by God, not by the government, but we have been complacent and let distractions and ungodliness take hold in our society, our government and our schools. We have strayed from divine principles and reap the consequences of disobedience. This is our watch – I take that very seriously. This is my watch, I have a mission. Will I oppose immoral and illogical ideologies – YES! I will not be silently complicit and allow an evil tide to sweep away THE CHILDREN to a point where they are brainwashed. Note that I am referring to “children” and not “my children”. I worry about the body of students we call “the children”. My children are adults and live in Colorado.
Some parents continue to protest that “my child” is not being treated fairly. I am available with an open mind to hear why they feel this way. If their child is treated differently than any other child in the school system, I would like to know the details. But, if that parent requires their child to receive special attention because of their appearance or state of mind [or the way that they identify]I would find it hard to admit that they are not treated the same as other students.