A Chincoteague resident is a candidate for the District 1 seat on the Accomack County School Board in the Nov. 7 election.
Connie Burford called herself a “20-year advocate for students, parents and teachers” and said she feels “District 1 schools are not getting the representation they deserve.” The district includes Chincoteague Island and a portion of the mainland.
Burford was among a group that successfully changed the school board membership from appointed to elected seats several years ago.
“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.
“Those policies have to be implemented and followed. Many times, we fail to do this, and this must change.”
Burford said she was educated in Accomack County schools and developed a love for education and Chincoteague Island through her family.
“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 worked as a nurse and was licensed in both Maryland and Virginia. Her daughter graduated from Arcadia High School and attended both Long-wood University and Liberty University. Now she holds a position as a kindergarten teacher at Chincoteague Elementary School.
Burford said her son was born with autism and various learning disabilities. She became a special education advocate, receiving phone calls, offering advice, and helping find learning solutions.
“I am the person employees feel comfortable reaching out to when all other doors are closed to them,” she said.
“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.”
Burford served on the parent advisory committee during the tenure of 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 said.
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