Loudoun Co. School Board appoints former board member to vacant seat

The Loudoun County School Board Tuesday appointed a familiar face to fill a vacant board seat. Tom Marshall will represent the Leesburg District through the end of next year.

The school board voted 7-1 for Marshall, with board member John Beatty casting the dissenting vote.

Loudoun County Circuit Court Clerk Gary Clemens immediately swore in Marshall.

Marshall previously represented the Leesburg District on the school board from 2007 to 2011 and 2015 to 2019.

The board selected Marshall, who previously worked for 30 years as an educator in Fairfax County Public Schools, from a group of 13 applicants.

The other applicants were Rene Camp, Todd Cimino-Johnson, Rebecca Clark, Stephen Cypher, Colin Doniger, Andrew Fernandez, Andy Jabbour, Marshall, Erika Ogedebe, Michael Rivera, Lauren Shernoff, Julia Sisson and Frank Spampinato.

Some parents did not agree with Marshall’s appointment, saying the board needed more diversity.

“To the board, I am very disappointed. You have minorities who have applied for this position, yet you went ahead and you chose the male, white man for a board that is already predominantly white,” said parent Noel Odzeye, who also spoke against Marshall’s possible appointment during a Dec. 6 meeting where 45 speakers addressed the school board.

Marshall then defended the board’s choice by explaining his experience in education.

“I don’t think necessarily that having a diverse board necessarily means a harmonious board. I am an educator. I’ve been an educator for 30 years. I think I have something I can bring to the board, and I am not ashamed of being an old, white guy,” Marshall said.

His appointment comes after Beth Barts resigned from the seat in October amid an attempt by a group of parents to recall several school board members over issues with racial equity and open meeting laws. Barts’ resignation was effective Nov. 2.

During his interview at the Dec. 6 meeting, Marshall said he believed the opposition the school board has recently received is not representative of how most parents feel.

Marshall, a supporter of transgender rights, said he suspects there is more support for school board policies among parents, as opposed to what he calls “orchestrated reactions” to the transgender rights issues and critical race theory that have come before the board.

Watch more about the school board’s decision from NBC Washington:

Andrew Alsbrooks

Andrew Alsbrooks is an Associate Producer at WTOP. Prior to joining WTOP, Andrew worked for NBC Washington and he currently works at NBC Sports Washington from time to time. Finding the “why” in every story is what drives him to put his best foot forward on any topic that faces him.

Colleen Kelleher

Colleen Kelleher is an award-winning journalist who has been with WTOP since 1996. Kelleher joined WTOP as the afternoon radio writer and night and weekend editor and made the move to WTOP.com in 2001. Now she works early mornings as the site's Senior Digital Editor.

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