WAYNESBORO — Debra Freeman-Belle and Kathe Maneval have announced they will be seeking re-election to the Waynesboro School Board in November.
The two sent out a joint press release announcing their decision on Friday afternoon.
According to Waynesboro City Registrar Lisa Jeffers, Freeman-Belle is the only candidate to file in Ward C so far.
Meanwhile, Maneval could face a challenger in the D district. Jeffers said Amber L. Lipscomb filed at 4:15 p.m. Friday, but her candidacy has not yet been finalized.
The deadline for filing is Tuesday, June 21 at 7 p.m.
Maneval is the current board’s vice president and will seek her fifth term after being first elected in 2006. She is currently the school board’s longest-serving member, according to the press release.
“I am pleased with the progress we have made in improving teacher compensation and completing our capital improvement projects, including the completion of Phase 1 of the high school renovation,” said Maneval in the press release.
The statement also says Maneval is excited about the program improvements in middle and high schools.
“We have new course offerings in CTE and trades,” Maneval said. “And we have better guidance for our students as they choose their academic and career paths.”
Maneval is a graduate of Swarthmore College and the University of Pennsylvania. She is a volunteer for the BSA Scouts program, currently Chair of the Cub Scout Pack 73 Committee. She has also served as Treasurer for Westwood Hills PTO, Kate Collins PTO and Waynesboro High School Supporters Group.
“I’m running for re-election because I believe having an experienced school board member with a background in education is essential to help guide our school division as we navigate these difficult times,” she said.
Freeman-Belle is seeking a second term on the school board following her first election victory in 2018, the statement said. She is originally from Waynesboro and graduated from the Waynesboro public school system.
She has spent the past 20 years working and volunteering in programs for children, youth and adults, currently serving as Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club and previously Executive Director of Waynesboro Area Refuge Ministry ( WARM).
Freeman-Belle is a graduate of Mountwest Community & Technical College and Touro University and is a certified case manager trained in crisis intervention and mental health, according to the release.
“I have spent the past few months reflecting on what the past two years have taught me about our students, our educators, our families and our community,” she said. “Like many, I struggled through the roller coaster of the pandemic while doing everything I could to show up where needed in life.
“But, after 24 months of working and living at a heightened level of expectation, safety and pivots, our students are ready for any challenges that may come their way. As a parent of three children who attend the schools of Waynesboro, I plan to dedicate the next four years to their continued success.
Freeman-Belle said the school division must continue to work on additional support services for students and try new strategies needed for students’ social, emotional and physical well-being.
She also added that she would like to continue building renovations and increase employee compensation.
“We are Waynesboro,” she said, “and we are resilient.”
Maneval and Freeman-Belle said in the press release that they agree that one of the main objectives of their next term will be to continue working on school safety measures, including the fight against bullying. and the potential for mass violence in schools.
Patrick Hite is the education reporter for The News Leader. Story ideas and tips are always welcome. Contact Patrick (he/him/his) at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @Patrick_Hite. Ssubscribe to newsleader.com.