COLUMN: Southampton School Board election

Published 6:28 pm Wednesday, September 27, 2023

For the first time, voters in Southampton County this fall will vote for candidates seeking a seat on the school board. County voters in the November 2022 election voted 5891-1452 to request the change from an appointed to an elected board. The change will be phased in over several years.

Three seats are on the ballot this year in three voting districts. Brandon Lee Rodgers is running unopposed in the Northeast as is Jennifer Tindle in the Southeast. There are two candidates in the Northwest – Cassandra Denise Hobbs and Paula Dullas.

Dr. Frank Morgan is a retired public school educator who has worked 43 years in Virginia and South Carolina. Sixteen of those years he served as superintendent. He has developed a series of questions appropriate to ask candidates addressing the complexities school board members face in today’s divided educational philosophy world. A few of his questions are as follows:

  1. Why are you running?
  2. What are your qualifications?
  3. Will you accept campaign contributions from sources outside the county?
  4. Are you experienced with governmental budgets?
  5. What is the role of a school board member?
  6. What is the role of the county board of supervisors regarding schools?
  7. How do you build consensus?
  8. Do you understand the time commitment being an effective school board member requires?

Dr. Morgan cautions prospective board members to ask several questions of themselves:

  1. Do you know that individual board members have no authority and that authority comes only from the majority vote of the entire board?
  2. Can you take criticism when privacy and confidentiality regulations prevent you from responding?
  3. Can you keep confidential information truly confidential?

Southampton County voters have an opportunity to now vet candidates, study the issues, and elect those who share their views.  Please take that opportunity!

County Director of Elections Lynn Burgess reminds that qualified voters have three options for casting their ballot:

  1. Early Voting at the Office of the General Registrar, 22305 Main Street, Courtland, VA 23837. Early Voting Starts 45 days before every election. (1st day is September 22, 2023)
  2. Vote On Election Day at your assigned Precinct polling location. Polls open at 6am and close at 7pm.
  3. Request a Vote By-Mail ballot by completing a Vote By-Mail Application via contacting the Register’s Office or going on the Virginia Department of Elections website.

Robert N. “Bob” Holt, a Franklin native, is a retired professor of business management and real estate at Southwestern Community College in Sylva, North Carolina. He holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral studies degrees from Virginia Tech and was a member of the university’s Corps of Cadets. His email address is