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Ryan Sawyers, Prince William County School Board Chairman, resigns

2:30 p.m. Prince William Democratic Committee issues statement

“Like most other people, we were surprised by Mr. Sawyers’ resignation this morning. We wish him well and hope he resolves the personal and professional concerns that caused him to come to this decision. It is our hope that his replacement is someone who shares our community values and will work with the other members of the School Board to place our children and their education first.”

11:45 a.m. School division issues statement

“School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers surprised PWCS Wednesday by posting announcement of his resignation on his personal Facebook page. He attributes the action to personal and professional reasons.

Under PWCS policies and the Virginia Code, Vice Chairman and Occoquan District Representative, Lillie Jessie, will perform the duties of the Chair, until the School Board appoints an Interim Chairman. Those duties are presiding over Board meetings, signing legal documents, as authorized by the Board, and leading agenda-setting meetings.

The Board Clerk is accepting applications for the interim position from any county resident who is a qualified voter. Since the School Board Chairman is elected at-large, applicants can come from any magisterial district. Interested candidates must submit their resumés to the Clerk of the School Board by March 17.

The Virginia Code requires the School Board to appoint an Interim Chairman within 45 days, otherwise the Circuit Court will make the appointment. The interim appointee will then perform all duties of the Chair, until the position is filled in a special vote, as part of the general election in November 2018.”

10:20 a.m. Gray announces his bid for chairman 

John Gray, a Lake Ridge-based CPA announces his bid to run for School Board Chairman when and if a special election is called. 

From an email: 

Uriah: I am announcing my intention to run for the Chair of the Prince William County School Board in the Special Election to be held in the near future.    

As Chair I will lead the Board to focus on addressing class size reductions, improving SOL scores, increasing teacher pay, improving ACT & SAT scores, fixing underperforming schools in low-income areas, putting resources into disabled children’s education, creatively expanding new school construction to increase student capacity at lower costs, getting to zero-based budgeting, and reducing costs by cutting overstaffed positions in the Kelly Leadership Center.  

Presently and bluntly, the School Board is in chaos. The School Board internally is in disarray within its ranks. It needs NEW, cohesive, decisive and non-political leadership. I have “lived, worked and played”  in PWC for thirty years now. I know our community and our County. Our four children graduated from PWC schools. I am a military veteran, having served in the USMC in 1969 to 1973. I am a Vietnam veteran. I am a self-employed CPA who business is located in Lake Ridge since 1989. I know the County Budget, I know the School Board budget. I know [Prince William County].”

Gray ran for the Occoquan District School Board seat in 2015 against Lilly Jessie. 

10:10 a.m. Prince William GOP: ‘Today is an answer to prayer for many Prince William residents ‘

Dottie Miller, Chairman of the Prince William County Republican Committee, today made the following statement on the resignation of Prince William School Board Chair Ryan Sawyers:

“Today, we’re pleased that Democrat Ryan Sawyers has resigned from the School Board. Since Ryan was sworn in as chairman of the Prince William School Board on December 11, 2015, he has engaged in controversy after controversy. Whether it be school-naming fights, disrespect of Gil Trenum’s military service, law suit after law suit, or teacher intimidation and retaliation, Ryan Sawyers has been more partisan bully than education leader or consensus builder. Ryan Sawyers’ disastrous leadership is an example of what happens when overly-partisan Democrats are given responsibility of local governance. His leadership was so poor that it resulted in an historic bipartisan censure over ethics. Multiple Prince William leaders and residents have urged Sawyers to resign for more than a year; today is an answer to prayer for many Prince William residents who simply believe our children deserve better. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents want a School Board that is more focused on our students than their own political career. Hopefully now we can restore our School Board to a responsible governing board that is focused on education.”

9:30 a.m. 

The Prince William County School Board may request to hold a special election to replace Sawyers. 

The special election must be approved by a Circuit Court judge and cannot fall within 60 days of the upcoming June 12 Primary Election, said Matt Wilson, at the Prince William County Voter Registrar’s office.

9:20 a.m. 

The Prince William County Republican Committee will meet within the hour to discuss Sawyers resignation and the next steps. Multiple sources tell me Gainesville District School Board Member Alyson Satterwhite is being encouraged to seek the Chairman’s seat. 

“Alyson Satterwhite will make a great Chairman when elected,” said Willie Deutsch, the Coles District Representative on the School Board.

Satterwhite could not be reached for comment. 

Original post 9:08 a.m. 

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — Prince William County School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers resigned today. 

Sawyers posted this message on Facebook: 

 

His resignation today caught staff at the county’s school division headquarters by surprise. The school board is set to meet tonight at 7 p.m

Officials there plan to issue a statement later today. Vice Chairman Lillie Jessie told Potomac Local she will serve as chairman at tonight’s meeting.

The Democrat’s resignation comes about a week after he dropped out of his bid for the 1st Congressional seat now held by Republican Rob Wittman.

Sawyers was elected in 2105 and has long been embroiled in multiple lawsuits with school division personnel during his tenure as chairman.

Prior to him dropping out of his congressional race, he called for the resignation of Prince William County School Administrator Dr. Steven Walts after he was involved in a car crash while driving a car owned by the school division last fall. He accused Waltz of not reporting the crash, something Waltz denies. 

We’ll have more as it becomes available. 

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