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School Board members assist on logging in for the groups retreat at Victory Fellowship Church. Pictured standing from left are Marva Dunn, Drexel Pierce. Seated is Janie Bush.

When members of the Greensville County School Board met last week at Victory Fellowship Church in Emporia, the FY 21-22 budget wasn’t part of the discussion. There was plenty of time for that Wednesday when the GCPS leaders met with the City and County in a joint gathering.

The March 25 meeting was all about having some fun in a setting that is certainly different than the typical Board meeting. That being said, it wasn’t a group gathering of fun and games.

“This is an opportunity for the Board to come together and learn,” GCPS Superintendent Dr. Kim Evans said. “ Professional development is very important in the educational field. We do professional development with teachers all the time. This is an opportunity for the Board to have professional development to increase and enhance their leadership skills.”

A vital piece of the meeting was perusing through School Board norms, procedures, and cultural sensitivity.

As it has been with school boards throughout the Commonwealth, the last year has been challenging for the Greensville County School Board. None of the members ever dreamed a pandemic would shut down the schools.

Once the school division reopened, it brought a new challenge. The students were home and learning virtually. It was the first rodeo of this type for the students, teachers, staff, and parents. Board Chair Marva Dunn believes the Board adapted well considering the unforeseen obstacles that came with COVID-19.

“We haven’t always made decisions that pleased everyone, but we made the decisions we believed to be in the best interests of all — the parents, the community, the children, and the staff,” she said. “I would really like to thank the Board for all its hard work this past year. It has been a great challenge. Our superintendent and her staff have been excellent through all of this. We appreciate their hard work.”

The students are slowly trickling back to the classroom, and COVID-19 vaccinations are increasing by the day. How that changes the direction in challenges facing the Board remains to be seen.

Still, the retreat at Victory Fellowship completed the first step in what will be a busy spring for the Greensville County School Board.