Baxter, Fravel Compete For School Board Seat

Brent Finnegan -- October 26th, 2010

On the ballot in Harrisonburg next Tuesday, there are several items in addition to the 6th District House of Representatives race and the six candidates running for two City Council seats.

Sallie Strickler and Stephen Barranco, Jr. are running for two open seats on the Harrisonburg City School Board in the East District. In other words, that race is non-competitive.

However, in the West District, Scott Baxter is running against Polly Fravel for one open seat. Regardless of where you vote in the city, these races and candidates will be on the ballot. asked Baxter and Fravel, “What qualifies you to serve on the Harrisonburg City School Board?”

Harrisonburg School Board administrative office


Polly Fravel I have experience as a teacher in the school system and knowledge of education issues and duties of the school board. I was president of the Harrisonburg Education Association for 8 years and during that time attended school board meetings regularly. This gave me the opportunity to observe the budget process and development of school policies. I also served as a teacher representative on the board and worked collaboratively on several personnel policies. Since retiring in 2008, I have continued to watch the meetings on City Span and have been attending the meetings since announcing my candidacy. I am a member of the Valley Association of Retired Educators which has allowed me to stay informed on current state and national issues affecting schools around the country.

I have a passion for student learning and providing the best education for all children. This includes making thoughtful and reflective decisions by listening to all sides of an issue. As a retiree, I will be able to invest the time needed for this position.


Scott Baxter My Primary Motivation – Children in the School System: I have 2 great sons who are actively involved in sports and other school activities at Harrisonburg High School. It is my belief that elected officials make better decisions when they have a vested interest in the outcome.

Experience Managing large budgets: I have been a Sr. Project Manager for Nielsen Builders, Inc for the past 4 years. The most recent projects I have lead include James Madison University’s new $90 million Forbes Center for the Performing Arts and their $27 million East Campus Library. From my experience managing the budget of these large projects and many other projects, I believe I am better equipped to understand revenue and expense streams which will lead to finding ways to save the school district and taxpayers money without compromising the quality of education we deliver .

Knowledge of School Facilities: With my 20 yrs experience in constructing numerous educational facilities throughout Virginia, Delaware and Maryland, I can work with the school district’s Facility Management personnel to ensure that the facilities are operating at peak performance . HCPS spends several million dollars per year on utilities, maintenance and equipment. I believe I can assist the division in making wise investments that will save money over the long term.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) Certified professional by the US Green Building Council: My goal is to apply my knowledge as a Certified LEED professional to work with the school district on ways to save energy, the environment, and cost. In addition, I would like to work with the faculty on how we can develop our young minds to flourish in a Green Economy and Environment.

City of Harrisonburg Board of Zoning experience: I plan to combine my experience on the zoning board with city and school leadership to develop better ways to accurately track the growth of our city so that we can be better prepared to meet the the short term and long term needs of our school system.

Leadership: My career and community experience has afforded me opportunities to lead diverse groups and build consensus through teamwork. These skills are needed to tackle the challenging and difficult tasks that lie ahead. I will bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to the board along with an established track record of getting results.

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3 Responses to “Baxter, Fravel Compete For School Board Seat”

  1. This post has been updated with Baxter’s response.

  2. Ross says:

    I believe Fravel will win, “Hands Down”.

  3. Lowell Fulk says:


    “I have a passion for student learning and providing the best education for all children. This includes making thoughtful and reflective decisions by listening to all sides of an issue. As a retiree, I will be able to invest the time needed for this position.”

    This is what I would look for in a School Board Member. From my experience, this attitude coupled with Ms. Fravel’s nature and intellect makes her the best choice.

    Harrisonburg already has a Superintendent of Schools.

    This election is for a position on the Harrisonburg City School Board, not to select someone to manage the day to day operations of the entire system.

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