Spotsylvania parents concerned over superintendent candidate
FREDERICKSBURG, Va. - There's a divisive debate going on over the Spotsylvania County School Board's new superintendent nominee.
Parents are demanding more transparency while officials are staying tight-lipped about his close connection with the school board chair.
Mark Taylor, a former county administrator, and attorney, is the superintendent nominee. Taylor currently works as a county administrator in Greene County.
Parents want to know how and why someone who is not an educator made it through the screening process.
"It makes us scared for our kids' future. I mean this is really terrifying for what they’re trying to do for public education," said Rich Lieberman, a Spotsylvania County Public Schools parent.
Melissa Floyd, the parent of a 6th grade and a 9th grade Spotsylvania County Public Schools student said her kids have lots of years left in the school district. "I want someone who knows what they’re doing, and is in it to make public schools better for kids and has the experience to do it," she said.
Spotsylvania County Public Schools did a nationwide search for a new superintendent after Dr. Scott Baker was fired in January.
The school district says the process yielded 21 applicants and 11 were interviewed. Officials add Taylor has a long history in the area and appropriate credentials sine he has overseen the money allocated to the school division and has knowledge of school budgets and organizational administration.
School board member Dawn Shelley, however, made a correction stating 11 names did not come to them and they interviewed way fewer than 10 candidates.
The Virginia Board of Education would still need to approve or certify Taylor for consideration due to the lack of specific qualifications he has for the superintendent role. The Spotsylvania School Board voted 4 to 3 in favor of Taylor getting the approval for a superintendent license.
Parents say it's alarming that Taylor and the school board chair Kirk Twigg seem to be good friends. Taylor and his wife are directors of Twigg's nonprofit corporation called Emerging Stars.
"The connection with our school board chair is really worrisome," Floyd said.
"I think it’s unethical now when he was asked about it because Twigg’s campaign manager is the wife of Mark Taylor so yes, there’s definitely something going on, and just from that aspect alone he should not be the person for our superintendent," said Dana McFarren, another concerned Spotsylvania County Public Schools parent.
Attempts to reach Taylor were unsuccessful. The Virginia Board of Education will meet on Thursday, Sept. 15 to review Taylor's candidacy. If approved, the school board will then vote on a contract.
This is a developing story. Check back with FOX 5 for updates.