2016 Virginia Beach Elections: Questions for Virginia Beach School Board, Centerville District

Ed. note — The Independent News asked School Board candidates to send information about their campaign organizations and priorities. School board candidates were not included in the print edition, and, given this, one candidate responded. Responses have not been edited. This will be updated if there are additional responses. Trenace Riggs, whose responses appear below, faces Eric V. Wray, Jr. in the Centerville District.

Trenace B. Riggs      

Neighborhood: Bently Park 
Age on Nov. 8: 63
Occupation: Retired School Teacher 
Political party affiliation, if any: Independent
Key endorsements: Virginia Beach Education Association (VBEA), Filipino American Community Action Group (FIL AM CAG), and African American Political Action Group (AAPAC)
TrenaceRiggs.com  (757)403-3573 ♦ Trenace@TrenaceRiggs.com ♦ On Facebook, Trenace Basnight Riggs; on Twitter, TrenaceRiggs@riggstrenace; on Instagram, riggswake

What are your specific qualifications for this office? I’m experienced retired teacher with 37 years (35 with VBCPS). I taught 19 years in Kindergarten and 19 years in 6th grade. As the VBEA President for the last four years I built a positive working relationship  with members of the school board and the City Council along with officials from the city and school division. We worked together in the best interests of our students and educators. Additionally I have been to all of the School board meetings, workshops and retreats for the past six years to stay informed of what is happening in our school system. 

Please describe your educational background, including highest level of education completed and degree(s) awarded. I am a product of the VB school system attending Woodstock ES and graduating from Kempsville HS (1971). I earned my BS degree in Education from Radford College (1974). I earned my Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from Old Dominion University(1979). For the past 18 years I served on the Virginia Beach Education Association (VBEA) board and as Treasurer, Vice President and President. Additionally,  I served on the Virginia Education Association (VEA) Board for the past 10 years. 

What will be your three main goals as a member of the school board? My first goal is to lower the class size in Virginia Beach by at least one student per class. Smaller class sizes are imperative for more individualied learning, to increase test scores and improve critical thinking skills.

My second goal is to recruit and retain the best teachers possible by increasing salaries. Virginia ranks 30th in the nation in teacher salaries which is $7230.00 less than the average teacher makes in the country. Our educators need to have competitive salaries to focus on these things and not be forced to work second and third jobs.

My third is to implement full day kindergarten. Virginia Beach is one of the three school systems in Virginia that does not have full day Kindergarten. This is an important iniative because what used to be expected of first graders is now an expectation of those in kindergarten, and that cannot be accomplished in a half-day.

© 2016 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

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