Spotsy School News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County schools. You can email him at

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Spotsy GOP endorses Shelley in Chancellor District School Board race

I admit I’m playing catch-up here. The November election is filling up with candidates for the School Board race and I’ve been trying to keep track of who’s who and where each person is with regard to officially filing. So, forgive the delay but … here are the first endorsements I’ve gotten for the School Board.

The Spotsylvania County GOP tells me it is endorsing Dawn Shelley in the Chancellor District. School Board members don’t run with a political affiliation so she’s listed as an Independent.

Shelley, a Ni River Middle School teacher, is seeking to fill the seat being vacated by Marty Wilder, a UMW administrator. Wilder announced this spring that he is not seeking reelection after 17 years on the board.

Mike Cotter, who retired from the Spotsylvania school division after a three-decade career in education, has also entered the Chancellor race.

At its June 23 meeting, the Spotsy GOP also endorsed Paul Trampe, who is seeking the Salem District seat on the Board of Supervisors. He’s running against current School Board member Donald Holmes.

Below is information on the School Board race from a news release provided by the Spotsylvania Republican party.

“At the beginning of this year, I promised that the Spotsy GOP would not only support Republicans, we would also support conservative independents who wanted to work hard and make a difference in their community,” Chairman Steve Thomas said in a news release. “Our party certainly does not have a monopoly on good ideas. And so, we wanted to endorse these two individuals about whom we felt very strongly that they are the correct choices in their respective districts.”

Thomas said of Dawn Shelley:

“Dawn Shelley is the kind of person everyone  wants to see in public office. She’s not a professional politician- she’s a special ed teacher at Ni River Middle School, she has a BS and MS in education, she is a mother of two public school students, and she serves on Congressman Wittman’s Education Advisory Council. And she is extremely concerned about the total lack of accountability on the School Board at the moment. Dawn Shelley will bring the ratio of administrators to teachers back into balance. She is a hard working single mom who has seen the issues our school system faces from every angle, and she will make an ideal School Board member.”

Thomas concluded, “Everyone wants to see average citizens who are concerned about their community stand up and put themselves out there to run for office. Paul and Dawn are two of the very best, and we look forward to their public service for years to come”.