Four seats on Hampton School Board draw six candidates

Two incumbents and four political newcomers are vying for four at-large seats on the Hampton School Board on May 3.

Chairwoman Martha Mugler and retired educator Phyllis Henry are seeking to keep their seats, while current members William "Dave" Pearson and Monica Smith declined to run for another term.

Four others – Ann Stephens Cherry, Pamela Croom, Erica Wagner and Reginald C. Woodhouse – are hoping to bring fresh voices to the board. All seats are at-large, a change from the ward-based elections in years past.

Mugler, 54, works as an executive assistant at Old Point National Bank. She's been on the board since 2008, serving as chairwoman for the past four years, and has cited numerous accomplishments during her tenure, including capital improvements, improving graduation rates and health facilities for employees.

Two incumbents and four political newcomers are vying for four at-large seats on the Hampton School Board on May 3.

Chairwoman Martha Mugler and retired educator Phyllis Henry are seeking to keep their seats, while current members William "Dave" Pearson and Monica Smith declined to run for another term.

Four others – Ann Stephens Cherry, Pamela Croom, Erica Wagner and Reginald C. Woodhouse – are hoping to bring fresh voices to the board. All seats are at-large, a change from the ward-based elections in years past.

Mugler, 54, works as an executive assistant at Old Point National Bank. She's been on the board since 2008, serving as chairwoman for the past four years, and has cited numerous accomplishments during her tenure, including capital improvements, improving graduation rates and health facilities for employees.

Mugler often says that education "is the most important economic development initiative any community can undertake," but says there is still work to be done to get Hampton schools where they need to be. Twelve of Hampton's 29 schools are fully accredited, and two are unaccredited.

"We are not yet where I believe this division can be with respect to student achievement," Mugler said. "However, I do believe we are on a trajectory to accomplish continued improvement in our classrooms and in student performance."

Henry is a retired educator who worked for Hampton City Schools for 30 years as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. The 71-year-old has been on the board for 12 years. Changes underway in the division with its new partnership to create comprehensive academies in all four high schools helped sway her to run again.

"In the past I said I wouldn't do it again, but we have a new superintendent, new programs coming in Hampton like the Ford Next Generation (Learning career academies) which I'm very excited about," Henry said at a recent forum. "I want to build the future of Hampton City Schools for my grandchildren. ... It's very important for the future of our city to have a program of career and excellent, excellent educational preparation for our students so that our community will grow."

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