A fifth person, and perhaps the first female applicant, has applied for interim appointment as the Prince William County School Board Chair. Compton & Duling, L.C.’s Litigation Partner, Heather R. Steele, submitted her application on Friday, March 16, 2018, and plans to speak at the School Board’s public hearing on April 4, 2018 regarding the background and experience she would bring to a position on the School Board.
Steele has served for five years on the SPARK Board, which is the Prince William Education Foundation, supporting partnerships with the business community to provide resources for PWCS students. She currently serves on the Board’s scholarships committee, reviewing applications from graduating students for scholarships such as the Dr. Kelly scholarship and the Chick-Fil-A scholarship, as well as a Career and Technical Education scholarship. Steele is also currently a Board Member of Smart Beginnings Greater Prince William, where she serves as Treasurer alongside Sharon Henry, SPARK’s Executive Director. SPARK is the fiscal agent for Smart Beginnings. Smart Beginnings works with the local business community, as well as with Head Start and the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF) to increase the number of Virginia Preschool Initiative spots available for PWC kids.
“I have seen first hand the incredible students that our school district produces, and I am proud to be a member of the business community supporting our schools,” Steele explains. “I care deeply about the success of Prince William County Schools. I have three young daughters, two of whom are in First Grade and Kindergarten at Ashland Elementary, which has again received a School of Excellence Award with our great principal Andy Jacks.”
Steele indicates in her application for the interim chair position that she wants to help the School Board get back to business.
“I would work to ensure the Board’s meetings are run in an efficient, effective manner, to provide clear, straightforward information to the public about our decision making and budgeting, and I would work to use the $1 billion dollar budget that we’ve been given to benefit our students and teachers. I would also work to increase our interactions and engagement with the business community, through SPARK’s efforts, as well as working to engage local business leaders to support initiatives like Smart Beginnings. Although PWCS has a large budget, there are still items that may lack funds, and engaging with the business community can help solve some of those issues. Like SPARK says, great schools are everyone’s business.”
Steele explains that she moved to Prince William County to raise her family, and that she is invested in making sure that her three young girls, as well as all other students in PWC, receive a World Class Education.
“I care deeply about this community and want to see us reach our full potential. I care deeply about not wasting assets that are given to us. I care deeply about using our resources effectively and efficiently. That includes both our time and our money.”
As a litigation attorney, Steele believes she brings a unique set of skills to the interim chair position. “I have spent many years involved in helping parties work out conflicts, which helps me to be able to see all sides of an issue and bring a sense of unity even in disagreements. I work every day to resolve disputes with professionalism, candor, and compassion, even with people who disagree with me. The board is a corporate body, and a chairman should provide servant leadership to help the board’s members come together and act cohesively to support the school system and its students in the best way possible. I would hope to provide that servant leadership as the interim chair.”
The Prince William County School Board is accepting applications until March 17, 2018, and will hold a public hearing on the applications on April 4, 2018 at 7:00 p. m.. The Board will make its appointment at the April 18 School Board Meeting.