Jessica J. Lewis is a candidate for Accomack Co. School Board – District 3. Her name will appear on the ballot on November 7, 2023.
Lewis is running against Lisa M. Cropper Johnson for the seat.
10 On Your Side reached out to all of the candidates running in this race, with a request for a bio and a list of questions to answer. If you do not see the candidate listed with a profile, we did not receive one.
Candidate Name: Jessica Lewis
Race: Accomack Co. School Board – District 3
Candidate Website: FB: Facebook: Jessica Lewis for Accomack County School Board- District 3
Biography: I grew up in Wicomico County, Maryland and graduated from James M. Bennett High School in 2004. In 2010, I moved to the eastern shore of Virginia and began my law enforcement career. I proudly served Accomack County for 11 years, four of those years I spent in the School Resource Officer division in Accomack County Public Schools. I am a proud mother of three children, two of which are currently enrolled in Accomack County secondary schools. After fighting the school system when one of my sons, who is diagnosed with Autism, was illegally disenrolled due to his teacher continuing to disregard his IEP accommodations, not receiving support when I reached out to my school board representative for help then being brushed off when I brought my concerns to the school board, I knew I had to become more involved at a higher level. I became the Chair for the Special Education Advisory Committee for ACPS for a term of two years. After the COVID-19 lockdowns, I (along with several other parents) started standing up to the board for their lack of proactivity regarding the removal of masking requirements for our students when the Governor brought forth his executive order. I continue to voice my concerns on the student safety, teacher support, parent voices, board transparency and accountability of the central office.
Why are you running for this office?
As the years have passed, I have seen how the current Board and central office have pushed certain political agendas and how that has negatively affected the quality of our public schools. The majority of our current school board members have made decisions in the more recent past that have proven how much a change is desperately needed if we hope to turn it around. Our children are suffering the consequences of the immoral decisions being made by the board. The voices of parents and families are not being heard. While changes are being made to take a more proactive approach to school safety, we still have a way to go. Maintaining open lines of communication with the assigned SROs and Sheriff’s Office are necessary to ensure top-notch levels of safety and security. Teachers are leaving our schools in droves. While we do have some amazing teachers in our county, I have personally seen how some teachers (and administrators) who continually make mistakes are not being properly documented, reprimanded and are being allowed to remain employed. We need to do better if we hope to boost morale, gain and retain high-quality staff to teach our children.
What is the most important issue facing Accomack County Public Schools and what is your position on it?
For the sake of being repetitive, ACPS has been failing their students and staff for quite a while from all angles and have been completely mismanaged from the top tier of central office. The school board has not been holding central office accountable and as a result, the administration, staff and students are suffering. Teachers are leaving for better pay. Parents are frustrated and pulling their children out and either homeschooling, enrolling in Virtual Virginia, or enrolling them into private schools.
How do you feel about the politicization of public education?
Any time the Government is involved, things will be politicized. School board members have been using their positions to push their personal political beliefs and agendas, and making decisions on what will give them funding from the government. I understand that public schools require funding in order to run, but we must not let our morals and ethics fly out the window and jeopardize the education, safety, mental health and well-being in exchange for money.
How will you still value constituents and politicians with whom you disagree?
Not everyone is going to agree all the time. We are all human. We all have thoughts, opinions and concerns that deserve to be heard. I am here to listen to take all of those into consideration. Everyone deserves a voice. The job of a representative at any level is to bring the majority of those thoughts, opinions and concerns to the table. There is always room somewhere on the middle ground.