Chincoteague resident Connie Burford, 20-year Advocate for Students, Parents and Teachers launches her campaign for a position on the Accomack County School Board. Connie will run in District 1 where she will represent all of Chincoteague and a nearby portion of the mainland. Burford feels that District 1 schools are not getting the representation they deserve. Connie collaborated with other community leaders to change the county school board from an appointed position to an elected position, giving county residents the power to choose the School Board members they know and trust.
“As a lifelong resident of the Eastern Shore and a single parent of two, I am very aware of the difficult decisions the school board faces,” she said. “We need to be more transparent with Parents, Students and Teachers if we are ever going to regain the trust of this community. No one wants to send their child to a school they do not consider safe. It takes more than putting a policy on paper and purchasing items that are written into a plan.” Burford continued, “Those policies have to be implemented and followed. Many times, we fail to do this, and this must change.”
“I was educated in Accomack County Public Schools,” Burford recalled. “Through my uncle, Ricky Burford, I developed a huge interest in education, and thanks to my mother, Dottie Turner, a love for Chincoteague Island. Therefore, running for the seat on the Island was a perfect fit.” Burford was a nurse, licensed in both Maryland and Virginia. Her daughter graduated from Arcadia High and attended both Longwood and Liberty University. Now she holds a position as a kindergarten teacher at Chincoteague Elementary School.
Burford’s son was born with autism and various learning disabilities. “It was during his education that I first became a special education advocate,” Burford said. “As an advocate, I received phone calls and messages from parents about issues regarding their children. I offered advice, made phone calls, provided them with websites, and/or paperwork, to help them find solutions.”
“As a school advocate,” Burford said, “I am the person employees feel comfortable reaching out to when all other doors are closed to them. I am always present at school board meetings and whenever anyone has a question about school policy, I am the one they usually call. I videotape all the meetings and post them for public viewing on my YouTube channel. I am a big proponent of transparency on a board responsible for allocating tax money. This is one way that I can help with that,” she said.
Burford served on the Parent Advisory Committee through three superintendents and on the Budget and Finance Committee when it was initially formed. For five years, Burford served on the School Health Advisory Board, ” We were actively involved in the development and presentation of school policy.”
Burford said. “I realize the challenges the last few years have presented in our classrooms for our teachers and students,” she continued,
“It’s an entirely different climate in our schools as a whole. If we are going to retain our excellent staff, we must start thinking outside of the box and come up with a better way to show them how much they are valued.”
“When November comes, I hope that people will vote for the candidate they think has the best interest of all students, including our students who receive Special Education services as well as the best interest of our staff,” said Burford. Connie would appreciate your support in the coming school board election so she can continue to serve as an advocate for all.