Tunstall District School Board member Morris Stowe has decided not to seek re-election in November.
Stowe, who is finishing up his fifth term on the board, says his age and eyesight are telling him he needs to get out of the way.
Originally named to the board when members were appointed by a School Board Selection Commission, Stowe says he has “tried all my ideas and done everything I can think of to make the schools the best they can be.
“It’s just time for new blood,” Stowe said. “I’ve never done what I was told and I know some people think I have too many opinions.
“But I have done the best I know how to do. I’ve tried to do what I thought was best for the system and the students.
“I fought for the performing arts when some of the others wanted to do away with them. I think if I had not been there, arts programs would be gone. It hasn’t looked good at times.
“I have nothing against sports, but all children cannot play sports.
“The arts, especially band, give them something to do. It forms friendships and close bonds. I would like to see our schools offer more things in arts.
“One of the best programs we have is JROTC. It builds character, responsibility, pride and success stories.”
He is also a strong supporter of the STEM Academy and Governor’s School and hopes the new board will continue to go forward and add to these projects.
“Schools have to have support from the Board of Supervisors and citizens,” Stowe said.
“One of the most disappointing things over the years is the lack of interest from a lot of parents,” he said.
“I hate discipline hearings and see the opportunities students are losing.”
He especially likes having student representatives from the four high schools on the board.
He says their opinions have helped board members in decision making.
“We make policy, but we don’t have to live with policy. Staff and students have to live with policy. Having the students’ help is a good thing,” he said.
Stowe’s advice to the new Tunstall District representative is “to take the job seriously. Learn to work with the six other members.
“Take a stiff hand if you have to. It may be unpopular, but do what is best. And don’t be discouraged.
“Don’t worry if you think you are not being heard. Stay in the fight.
“You may lose today, but next time you may win.”
Stowe is a retired farmer and works part time at Wrenn Yeatts Funeral Home in Danville.
He serves as chairman of the Pittsylvania County Planning Commission.
Other School Board members up for re-election in November are Wayne Robertson in the Chatham-Blairs District, Todd Sanders in the Westover District, and Don Moon in the Staunton River District.
In addition to school board, all seven seats on the board of supervisors are up for election.
County voters also will elect a sheriff, commonwealth’s attorney, clerk of court, treasurer, and commissioner of revenue.
Voters also will fill seats in the General Assembly. State senators Bill Stanley and Frank Ruff are up for re-election along with delegates Les Adams and Danny Marshall.
The filing deadline for candidates is June 9.