‘Recess Mom’ Applies for Interim School Board Chairman Position

| March 20, 2018 | 0 Comments | Education

“Recess Mom” Barbara Larrimore passed legislation extending recess time for elementary students and is now running to be interim chairman-at-large of the Prince William County School Board.

Larrimore of Lake Ridge is only one of 20 applicants school board members could elect. However, she is well known throughout education circles for her efforts to propose two bills to the Virginia General Assembly to extend recess time for elementary children.

One of those bills, HB 1419, written by Karrie Delaney (D-Centreville), passed the House and Senate. Larrimore said it was the most inclusive of the two.

“It has everything we wanted,” she said.

HB 1419 changed state policy so now recess time can be counted as instructional hours in Virginia public schools, allowing students more time to spend in recess or participating in physical activities.

Many experts believe more time spent outside and engaging in physical activity will provide a variety of benefits to children’s (and everyone’s) health and mental well-being, and may even improve learning.

After successfully working with the General Assembly on behalf of students, Larrimore decided to apply for the school board chairman position. She believes she is someone who is great at building bridges. To get her bill to pass she worked with Democrats and Republicans, attracting 25 co-patrons.

“I think that’s a really good example of what can be done. It was able to stay as nonpartisan as possible while still holding true to what I believe in,” she said. “I don’t want recess to become a partisan issue.”

Larrimore said she considers herself more of a Democrat although she is not “card holding member,” but she does not think party affiliation should be of primary concern. She believes most education issues are nonpartisan. Her goal is to bring unity to the board.

“I just want to make sure that there is a working relationship on the board. Make sure that we are hearing each other and not talking over one another and that we bring back the public trust in the school board.”

Larrimore believes she has the skills to bring people together under one tent.

Barbara Larrimore attends a Prince William County School Board meeting. (Photo by Mike Beaty.)

“I just genuinely like the people. I want to work with them, and I want to work with them in a positive way. I’m not the one to call them out on the dais and create animosity and drama.” She said that only undermines the good work everyone is striving to do.

Larrimore said she has no plans to run for chairman in the special election. She said she would consider running for the Occoquan seat if sitting member Lilly Jessie either ran for the chairmanship or retired. However, she said she would not want to challenge Jessie, who she believes brings experience to the position.

Larrimore is a stay-at-home mom and the fight to bring more recess time as an extension of caring for her children. They are the most important thing to her, she said; the chairmanship position would be an extension of advocating for her children and all children of the community as well.

She said there are other advantages to being a tuned in mom as well. “It’s not just for my own perspective” she explained. She talks with other parents and hears their issues and concerns as well.

The parents support one another. She thinks having a mom on the board can “really bridge the divide” between the parents and the politicians. She feels she is someone the teachers could feel comfortable talking to about their concerns as well.

Larrimore has been thinking about school issues she feels strongly about in addition to recess. At the Colgan High School Safe Schools townhall, she learned that some schools have poor internet connection due to cinder block halls and other hindrances. She would like to correct that.

She said it is “frustrating,” that this poor internet may impede teachers from producing those great tech-based lessons and could actually pose a problem in an emergency situation.

She also wants to see many of the safe school recommendations implemented such as door buzzers and secure entryways. She hopes as chairman she could expedite some of those initiatives before the next budget season just as some end of year funds have been allocated this year.

All in all, Larrimore hopes to be a “breath of fresh air” on the board. She said she hopes to learn all that she can, and to keep “moving the ball forward for things that I care about.”

Larrimore has a degree in psychology. She is president of the Lake Ridge Elementary School PTO and Vice President of the Lake Ridge Mom’s Club from 2013-15.

Only school board members can vote. Residents can send their input to their representatives.

According to Prince William County Schools, Public Hearing on Prince William County School Board’s interim appointment will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, in the School Board meeting room at the Kelly Leadership Center.

Applicants for the position are also invited to speak for up to five minutes. The School Board plans to vote on the interim appointment on April 18, 2018.

The interim person will serve until after the special election to be held in November.

This is not an endorsement for Barbara Larrimore by Bristow Beat. 

© 2018, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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Category: Education

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