Overfelt announces bid for District 2 school board seat

Michael Overfelt
Michael Overfelt, a former military intelligence officer and consultant, moved to Luray seven years ago. Last week he announced his intention to run for the District 2 seat on the Page County School Board.

By Randy Arrington

LURAY, April 19 — Seven years ago, Michael Overfelt and his wife Mary moved to the Luray area. Michael spent a lot of time traveling over the years as a defense contractor and consultant, but the former Army intelligence officer and retired Lt. Colonel is trying to find ways to give back to his community now that he’s cut back to only part-time consulting — for four different companies.

He says his part-time work as a “technical instructor” to support special units will not interfere with his new responsibilities in Page County, if he’s successful in his latest mission.

Last week, Overfelt, 69, announced his intention to seek the District 2 seat on the Page County School Board.

“Based on my background, my skills, budget experience and passion for the development of our youth in a safe and productive environment…I think I would make a good candidate. The development of our youth is one of my strongest passions,” Overfelt said last week. “If we improve our schools, we enhance these children’s lives, but we are also going to make a better county.”

Overfelt has an extensive resume that begins with a 20-year stint in the U.S. Army as a military intelligence officer. He retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1997 after spending 16 of his 20 years in the military overseas. He then became vice president of sales and marketing for a large resort business, a district manager for a large pharmaceutical company, and a defense contractor and consultant. Overfelt has been through five corporate takeovers, managed budgets in the millions, oversaw a staff of 600-plus, coordinated projects for the Pentagon and State Department, and even negotiated deals between Bosnians and Serbs.

On a flyer promoting his campaign for the local school board, Overfelt emphasizes three key things he supports — an educational system built on trust and transparency, better parental participation, and instilling respect for our nation in our students.

“What I support…An educational system built on trust, honesty and a partnership among the teachers, students and parents. Transparency is the key to ensuring a strong partnership — as parents need to be aware of what their children are being taught,” the flyer reads. “Parental participation is essential for the support students need to be successful. We must focus on those topics critical for our children’s future — STEM classes, (science, technology, engineering math), social science, history, the arts and vocational training.”

Overfelt also emphasizes “the study of our Constitution and Bill of Rights to rebuild our students respect for our nation,” according to the flyer.

Graduating from Appalachian State in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, Overfelt later earned a Masters degree in National Security Studies from the Naval War College in 1994.

Since moving to Luray, Overfelt has supported Choices, Page County’s Council on Domestic Violence, and is a lifetime member of the VFW and American Legion, although he admits his out-of-town work has prevented him from being active in the local units.

His wife Mary works with Page County Equine Connection, which recently took over barn management for Riverbend Ranch near Alma. Mary also runs her own business, cooking and selling McWhirter’s Scottish Oat Cakes at stores and online.

“And they are pretty dog-gone delicious if I do say so myself,” Michael said.

Candidates in school board races typically do not run under party banners, but Overfelt does decribe himself as “fiscally conservative.”

“You have to spend dollars wisely, and every time we spend a dollar…ask what’s it doing for the student?” Overfelt said. “When it comes to teachers…money isn’t always the issue. What voice do they have? We can’t tie their hands…we need to give them room to run their classrooms, and give them the tools they need.”

The former resort manager and military consultant approached his friend, District 2 supervisor Allen Louderback, about how he might get involved in local government as a way to use his skills to better his community. After Louderback shared his intentions to run again, the two discussed other positions and agencies and landed on the school board.

“We need a greater involvement of parent, teacher and student relationships…I hear stories of students in kindergarten and first grade in diapers and still can’t talk,” Overfelt said. “A lot [of what I may want to change] will be based on what I learn and how I can best use my skills for the school system and the county. I think we could do better…I think we could do a better job preparing kids for their futures. We’re not concentrating enough on basics…and we are not as sound with our fiscal policies as we could be.”

The District 2 hopeful would like to see the local school division explore a culinary program and develop more career opportunities at the Page County Technical Center. He doesn’t approve of the supervisors’ categorial approval of the school division’s budget, and his extensive military background drives an urge to make our students safer.

“”We need to get [School Resource Officers] back in all schools….just parking a vehicle in front of the building is not sufficient,” the retired Lt. Colonel said.

Overfelt acknowledges that he “needs to do some research to get up to speed,” but research is nothing new for the military intelligence consultant. He plans to visit with each school principal in an effort to help identify areas where the division can be more efficient. He says that his campaign is focused on “proper use of our resources” and “sound curriculums that will actually prepare our students for our future.”

“I think it’s worthwhile for me to find something I can put my energy into, and I think the school board is a good place for that,” Overfelt said. “If we engage students in subjects they need in life, it’s another way to keep them off the drugs. We have to focus on STEM, and we need to give them an education that provides non-revisionist versions of history.”

“We have to protect and give them a sound environment to prepare them for the world that’s out there…it’s our responsibility…it’s game time.”

Voters may contact Michael Overfelt through his campaign email

at overfelt2062@gmail.com



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