Brenda Pace announces retirement

By Ruthann Carr, correspondent

Palmyra District School Board member Brenda Pace formally announced her retirement at the board meeting Wednesday (April 10).

“It’s time to move on and address my bucket list,” Pace said. “I have 26 grandchildren I’d love to spend more time with… It’s bittersweet, but it’s time. I want to put it out there for anyone who might want to run.”

James Kelley announced April 6 he is running for the seat.

The Palmyra District elected Pace in 2011 and again in 2015.


Scott Morris, high school athletic director, presented a letter of request to the board to name the high school baseball field after Steve Sheridan.

The letter began with the statement: “Steve Ellwood Sheridan is a dynamic factor in the development and progress of Fluvanna County Public Schools as a teacher, coach, administrator, athletic director, and ‘keeper of the fields.’ Steve Sheridan has been, and still is, a vital part of the school system and the entire community of Fluvanna.”

The board discussed the proposal and decided to vote on the matter at a later date.

Morris also presented the process of naming someone to the Athletics/Activities Wall of Fame. Nominations begin each May and induction ceremonies will be held during a fall football game.

Marcus Carter proposed naming the Central Elementary School auditorium the Paul Spraggs Sr.-Elva F. Key Auditorium after Central’s first principal and a secretary who served the schools for 56 years.

Social work

Keely Baker, a Longwood University social work intern, described the role of a school social worker.

The recommended student-social worker ratio is 1:250. Fluvanna’s one social worker, Susan Daly, is responsible for nearly 3,600 students.

Fluvanna school social worker roles include:

  • Assisting students and families with improving student attendance;
  • Filing truancy petitions on behalf of FCPS when appropriate;
  • Assisting students and families with accessing local resources;
  • Serving on special education teams and completing sociocultural assessments;
  • Serving on the Family Assessment and Planning Team (FAPT) as case manager and representative for the schools;
  • Representing FCPS on community teams such as the Crisis Intervention Team and Child Abuse Task Force;
  • Delivering staff professional development;
  • Coordinating the Santa Fund; and
  • Providing group counseling and individual support for students.


Brenda Gilliam, executive director of curriculum and finance, reported on the state of the current budget and the 2020 budget. If the county passes the advertised tax rate of 93.5 cents and gives the schools roughly half a million less than requested, the School Board needs to direct Superintendent Chuck Winkler on where to make cuts.

Winkler and Gilliam said their main concern was getting contracts out to teachers by May 10. The board will have a work session tentatively scheduled for April 25 at 5 p.m. to discuss what raise staff will receive.


During public comments, teacher and textbook committee member Kristy Muddiman spoke about the amount of time and effort the committee put into its recommendation.

“We spent more than four months vetting textbooks page by page for readability, clarity, issues of possible bias or anything anyone could find an issue with. The process was really comprehensive,” Muddiman said. “I have kids in high school and they’re reading books that talk about George W. Bush as president that are held together with duct tape. We need to do what’s right for the students.”

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