DALE DISTRICT Debbie Graves Bailey (R) Age: 57 Occupation: retired teacher Status: married Children: Sarah, 29, Jake, 24 Why I am running: I have... School board candidates profiled for Nov. 5 election

Debbie Graves Bailey (R)

Age: 57
Occupation: retired teacher
Status: married
Children: Sarah, 29, Jake, 24
Why I am running: I have dedicated my entire professional life to the education of youth in Chesterfield County. Even though I retired from the classroom in June, my commitment to ensuring the very best education for all the students and families in Chesterfield continues. I want to bring a teacher’s voice to the board. With the perspective of a mother and a teacher, I want to help develop the vision and goals for Chesterfield County schools. I want to serve on the board to help set the school system’s priorities and achieve its goals.
Why I should be elected:
As a teacher for the past 34 years (all in CCPS), I have been able to make an impact in the lives of students and families in Chesterfield. Although I retired in June, my commitment to ensuring the very best education for all students and families continues. I am committed to making sure all students are provided engaging learning experiences that connect them to their passions and helps them “imagine their tomorrow.” I have a servant heart, sound judgment, an even temper, a willingness to collaborate and a sincere interest in public education in my community. I want to make a difference for all students.
I will bring multiple perspectives to the board and represent all families. As a mother of a daughter with cerebral palsy, I understand the challenges many families face. My daughter’s success in school was dependent upon me, not only to advocate for her, but to ensure that our schools were places where all students would have equal access to opportunities. I will bring those advocacy skills to the school board on behalf of all students. I will put students first in all decisions.
My wealth of experience has helped me to become a celebrated educator. I have earned several prominent recognitions. I have frequently been asked to share my experiences with others, and have presented at local, state and qualifications to the school board.

Shedrick D. McCall Jr. (D)
Age: 49
Occupation: Associate professor of Psychology at Virginia State University
Status: married to Shannon McCall
Two children, Shedrick McCall III, 20, and Madison McCall, 3.
Why I am running:
I believe that my education, experience, work history, and community involvement makes me a viable candidate. I feel that I am able to relate information and concerns from our community to the school board in a manner that is conducive for change to occur. I am a resident in the Dale community who is concerned about our children and the future of our children educationally.
Why should I be elected?
I have been in the area since my son started kindergarten, and he has since graduated from Bird High School in 2017. My daughter will be matriculating through the Dale schools. I also have a god-grandson at Salem Church Middle School (Kristofer McCall-Perry), who has a disability. I have a stake in the direction that I would like to see our school go. I have been a coach, educator, mentor and role model for the youth in Chesterfield County. I think my zeal to help others and my ability to be an effective team player are essential characteristics needed for the board members. Finally, my knowledge and understanding of what a school board member role should be are critical to helping the board stay aligned with the vision of the community and the district.
My platform will focus on: 1. increasing teachers’ salaries, 2. equity/diversity, 3. school safety, 4. mental health services, 5. resources/infrastructure, 6. special education

Ann Crawley Coker (R)

Age: 44
Occupation: accounting manager (ITAC)
Status: married
Children: four (two in elementary, one in middle school, one in high school).
Why I am running:
I’m running to give every Chesterfield County child an opportunity for a better future, to represent and be a voice for the Bermuda District residents, and to make a difference in the lives of our children, teachers and community. We must financially take care of our teachers. We should help teachers get back to teaching and less worried about the results of one test. I will support initiatives that give our teachers a higher quality of life. We must provide a healthy, safe school environment for all of our students to succeed. We must help our students be college and career ready.
Why I should be elected:
My experience in life, work, and my interaction with CCPS schools is why voters should be put their trust in me. I have lived in Chesterfield County my entire life and have a vested interest in seeing us become the best. I have four children who all attend CCPS. I have the parents’ perspective of our schools and will be able to relate to their concerns. I served as the PTO president of Enon Elementary School from 2017-19. During that time, I saw areas that need improvement, heard teachers concerns, and fostered relationships with the community that will help me be their representative. In my professional life, I am an accounting manager. Balancing a budget and keeping money straight and ethical is a part of my day-to-day life. I will bring conservative financial principles to the school board.

Will Ares (D)
Age: 22
Occupation: self employed.
Status: Not married, but not single (first openly gay candidate for school board in the county).
Children: None
Why running:
I was one of many kids overlooked in an overcrowded school system. During my senior year at TDHS, I brought attention to the fact that I thought I had a learning disability. Through testing and assessment, my thoughts were confirmed, and I was found to have a learning disability. However, there was no recourse, as I was on track to graduate within the year. My hope is that no other children slip through the cracks and misses opportunities to achieve because their disabilities are overlooked.
Secondly, the inequity in resources has left the Bermuda District behind. While other districts have Center Based Gifted programs, new technology, new schools, etc., we are left with deteriorating buildings, old technology, and money going out the door by busing our students to the other side of the county. By fostering a working relationship with the board of supervisors and colleagues on the school board, I am certain we can bring quality resources to the southern part of the county.
Lastly, for so long it has been that our school board officials have been reactive to our problems. The bus crisis is growing by the year because we aren’t addressing it head-on with the collective input of families who put their kids on those buses, the drivers who get our kids there and back safely, and experts in transportation. Our teachers and bus drivers are leaving for better jobs elsewhere. We can mitigate this issue by being proactive in offering better healthcare, better pay and open communication.
Why I should be elected:
I plan to devote more time to the school board than has been given by any official in a long time. Being passionate about what matters to families motivates me in doing whatever it takes to ensure their voices are heard.

Denisha Potts (D)

Age: 43
Occupation: policy review specialist at the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services
Status: single
Children: none
Reasons why I am running:
Dedicating much of much of my volunteering to schools and community involvement for more than 15 years, experience, and the need for diversity.
Why should I be elected?
I am able to contribute a historic perspective from my community involvement which helps inform board decisions. I am the kind of person who doesn’t mind working hard, asking questions and getting to the bottom of things. I have a wealth of hands-on experience and am ready to continue to listen, learn and work to improve our school district to be the best it can be.

Ryan Harter (R)
Age: 37
Occupation: teacher (U.S. military veteran)
Status: married to Sarah Megan Harter.
Children: Four, who attend Winterpock Elementary, Bailey Bridge Middle and Cosby High.
Why I am running: To ensure our school system has a comprehensive budget that meets student and faculty needs, while using taxpayer money efficiently. The budget should ensure proper maintenance of our facilities, competitive pay for employees, and resources needed to provide a quality education for all students. We need to make student transportation reliable and safe. We need to work together to find a solution to address bus driver shortages and efficient bus routing. Ensuring that our schools are a safe place for students and faculty. We need to make every effort possible to ensure our schools have updated safety features and process in place.
Why I should be elected:
As a parent of students in our school system, I share your concerns, and at times share the frustration. I have led a life of service to our country and our community, first by serving in the military, and then in the classroom as a civics and economics teacher. I am ready to ask the hard questions, make difficult decisions, and work to find solutions. I am ready to work with all elected officials and community stakeholders to improve our schools. Every child deserves a quality education, regardless of address. Every school employee deserves to feel safe, valued and respected. Over the next four years, I vow to work tirelessly ensuring Chesterfield County Schools meet and exceed your expectations!