By Randy Arrington
LURAY, July 2 — When the Page County School Board unanimously selected Dr. Paul Johnson as the new principal of Luray Middle School on June 22, it forced the candidate for school board chairman to drop out of the two-way race. His new position within the school system made him ineligible to run for the elected office.
That’s when folks in the community started approaching Megan Gordon.
“It was a little overwhelming … I had multiple people ask me to run,” Gordon said on Thursday, while attending her youngest daughter’s softball tournament in Tennessee. “I didn’t say yes right away; I thought about it for a while.”
Gordon notified the county registrar of her write-in campaign for school board chairman last Friday, June 26, and then announced her decision on social media on Sunday, June 28.
“As a parent and former employee at the PCPS school level and Central Office level, I know the importance of building a school division where students, parents, teachers and staff feel they belong,” Gordon stated in her Facebook post on Sunday. “I have learned building relationships is critical to making a difference in our schools and communities.”
Gordon told PVN this week that she decided to run for chairman of the Page County School Board because of her “passion to serve Page County.” She believes her involvement in the Shenandoah Recreation League, Shenandoah Elementary School, Page Alliance for Community Action (PACA) and her employment with the school system will give her an edge in November’s election.
“My experience as the Deputy Clerk of the School Board provides me with an in-depth knowledge of the appropriate procedures and responsibilities of the school board members,” Gordon’s Facebook posts continues. “My training with the Virginia School Board Association provides me with the understanding about the role of a school board member as a governing body.”
In addition to having three children attend Page County Public Schools, Gordon’s role as program director of PACA for nearly five years has brought her in close contact with teachers and students, and it helps focus her vision for the school system.
“I want to make sure… given the state of the world right now… that we not only focus on offering the best academic opportunities for students, but that we are also meeting the social and emotional needs of everyone,” Gordon said. “This support is critical to building resilience in our community … especially at this time… and teach how to work through things in our life.”
Her oldest daughter, Kate, will be entering JMU this fall as a fifth year senior hoping to close out a stellar Division I collegiate softball career. Her son, Tristan, will be entering Milligan University in Tennessee as a freshman, where he will play baseball. And her youngest, Mattie, is a rising senior at Page County High School, who is looking to play softball next year at Division I Penn State University.
Athletics has played a big part in the Gordon household, and Megan remembers being a big part of the Shenandoah Recreation League as her kids were growing up. She spent one year as a parent rep in PACA before being named the program director in 2015.
Gordon worked at the school division’s central office serving as secretary to the superintendent of PCPS under Donna Whitley-Smith and deputy clerk to the local school board from 2015 to 2018. In that role, she coordinated efforts to secure state and federal grants for the local school system.
Gordon says she believes that people in the county approached her about running for the elected position of school board chairman because of her involvement in the community, her involvement with PACA and because “people know I care and that I give my best.”
“I’m pretty excited about the opportunity,” Gordon said on Thursday. “I talk to kids about volunteering and getting involved in the community. I thought there was no better way to model that for them than to do it.”
Gordon, as a write-in, will face the only candidate on the November ballot in the chairman’s race, Jason “Scotty” Breeden. Gordon must run as a write-in candidate since the filing deadline expired on June 9.
On Dec. 9, 2019, the Page County School Board appointed James “Jim” Grimley as the current school board chairman. His appointment expires on Dec. 31, 2020. Grimley is a retired educator, who taught for 10 years in Page County before taking a position in Shenandoah County where he became an elementary school principal. He is not running to retain the chairman’s seat.
Grimley replaced 16-year school board member Randy Bailey, who resigned suddenly on Nov. 1, 2019, citing health reasons. The unexpired term runs through Dec. 31, 2021.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: PVN was unable to obtain a photo of Megan Gordon prior to publishing. A photo, along with biographical data and answers to five questions, will be included in PVN’s ongoing profiles of candidates in contested races in the coming weeks.