The Chesterfield County School Board selected a new chair and vice chair Tuesday, Jan. 10, during its first meeting of the year. Midlothian District representative Dr. Javaid Siddiqi was chosen by his colleagues to serve as chair. Dale District representative John Erbach was selected vice chair.
“As a lifelong educator serving many roles at many levels – teacher and administrator, K-12 leadership and higher education leadership, local and state levels – I believe I bring a variety of experiences and ideas to the leadership role I will hold during the next year,” Dr. Siddiqi said. “As one of four board members with children attending school in Chesterfield County, I am excited about what the future holds for our students. Working together, we will help our children achieve their hopes and dreams.”
During Tuesday’s meeting, Dr. Siddiqi outlined several topics he expects the School Board will address in the coming year:
“We will continue to work to honor commitments made in our five-year plan, which include at least at 10-percent salary increase during that time and a further reduction in class size,” Dr. Siddiqi said. “We have a lot of work ahead of us – I did not even mention the aggressive schedule we have in place regarding school renovation and construction projects, recognizing the service of long-time staff members by working to make our supplemental retirement program solvent, our efforts to streamline management and better organize department responsibilities, replacing some long-time leaders, etc.”
“… We have much work ahead of us. The community expects us to be up to the challenge; I believe we will be. The work starts today.”
Dr. Siddiqi, the former Virginia Secretary of Education, was appointed Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of The Hunt Institute during the fall. More recently, Dr. Siddiqi served as the Director of the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows, which partners with senior-level political leaders who desire to be reformed-minded, state-level education policymakers. Dr. Siddiqi began his career as a high school teacher, assistant principal and principal in Chesterfield County Public Schools. As a member of former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s cabinet, Dr. Siddiqi helped develop and implement Virginia’s education policy and provided guidance to 16 public universities, the Virginia Community College System, five higher education and research centers, the Department of Education and state-supported museums. Recently, Dr. Siddiqi was appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to serve on the Radford University Board of Visitors.
Erbach is a partner with the Richmond-based law firm Spotts Fain. He has worked in the public and private sectors, including a stint as a research analyst with the Office of National Drug Control Policy. At Spotts Fain, his practice focuses on business litigation and counseling businesses to avoid disputes. Additionally, Erbach has provided hundreds of hours of pro bono service representing members of the community who cannot afford a lawyer when they need one. He also once sat on the board of directors of Read to Them, a nonprofit organization devoted to creating a culture of literacy in every home.
The other Chesterfield County School Board members are Carrie Coyner (Bermuda District), Dianne Smith (Clover Hill District) and Rob Thompson (Matoaca District). All School Board members were elected in November 2015 to serve four-year terms that end Dec. 31, 2019.