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Endorsements: Danville School Board Race (2014)

SouthsideCentral is ready to make our endorsements for the Danville School Board race.

In this year’s school board election, we have three open seats and five candidates. Incumbents Philip Campbell and George Wilson are facing challengers Henry Walker, Sharon Dones and Steven Gould. Let’s get the endorsements started.

Philip Campbell: Philip Campbell knows the school system. He also knows the current problems of the school system and isn’t afraid to mention them along with his ideas of solutions. He’s got that kind of outgoing personality that makes you feel comfortable to ask any kind of question. Once you do ask that question, you’re going to see his face light up with pride for the school system as he explains the answer. With all the recently aired problems of the Danville public school system, it would be easy to have a “dump the incumbents” frame of thought and start with a fresh new school board. That’s a horrible idea when it comes to Philip Campbell because he’s highly involved with the system and takes an active role in making tough decisions.

SouthsideCentral gives our highest endorsement to Philip Campbell and strongly urges you to vote for him.

Steven Gould: Steven Gould impressed me from the beginning. If you listen to him and his knowledge of the school system, you’d think that he already has at least two terms on the school board under his belt, but he’s a first time candidate. He’s an impressive speaker and he hits hard with the painful truth that needs to be said. The first words I heard him say were “We have to rebuild trust with our of the stakeholders in the school system.” He hit it right on the nose. You can see his enthusiasm and desire to get things fixed with the schools from the first moment you talk to him. It’s very rare for a first-time candidate to get the top rank of SouthsideCentral endorsements, but Steven Gould deserves the highest endorsement.

SouthsideCentral gives our highest endorsement to Steven Gould and strongly urges you to vote for him.

Henry Walker: I’ll admit when I am wrong, and I was wrong about Henry Walker in a previous update. His only problem is that he’s got so many good ideas, it’s hard for him (or anybody that would be in his shoes) to get them out in a short time period. That’s a great problem to have. I had no idea what he was talking about when he discussed “why do students leave the school system?” I immediately thought that it was because they moved to other areas, so there’s not much that could be done about that. Walker took his time to get with me and explain that over 150 students have left the city’s system and are now in Pittsylvania County schools. That’s a big issue and Walker is the only candidate to mention it. Walker’s got the great educational background that helps for this elected position and he’s definitely got the strong willingness to get his point across. A week ago, I didn’t think I’d make a third endorsement in this race. My mind has changed quite convincingly.

SouthsideCentral gives a strong endorsement to Henry Walker and strongly encourages you to vote for him.



Now let’s take a look at the candidates who didn’t get our endorsements.

George Wilson: Danville public schools have problems and it’s time for a school board that is stronger than ever in the past. George Wilson has been on the school board for a long time, but I fully believe that every election is a job interview where I vote for who I believe are the candidates for the job. Wilson’s wisdom and experience makes for a terrific “father figure”, but his passivity makes him fall below the three candidates that I endorsed above. With a relatively new superintendent who’s trying to force his ideas down the throat of a school board, it’s time to get board members who push back hard. George Wilson is highly qualified for the election, but I can’t give him an endorsement over three  stronger candidates.

Sharon Dones: It’s very clear that Dones has the desire to make a difference in the school system but as with Wilson, she’s outgunned by the three candidates that I endorsed above. I feel she’d be a good member of the school board and I strongly encourage her to keep that attitude going strong for the 2016 election cycle.


Recap: SouthsideCentral gives Philip Campbell and Steven Gould our highest endorsement. We also strongly endorse Henry Walker. We believe that these three candidates will continue to work on solving the problems facing the school system and we feel that they are the best candidates for the job.

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