The election for Virginia Beach City School Board District 9 takes place on November 8, 2022. Prior to the 2022 election, voters could vote for all eleven Virginia Beach School Board seats, regardless of where they live. This is the first school board election where voters will only vote for candidates in their district. There is one at-large seat that is not up for election this year. Erika D. Guess (I) will face incumbent Carolyn Weems (R). Weems has served on the school board since 2009, and currently holds the Virginia Beach City School Board District 4 Bayside seat.
Ericka D. Guess is a parent and a Virginia Beach City Public Schools graduate who is running as an Independent candidate in this year’s school board election. Guess has lived in Virginia Beach all her life and suggests that her background in the nonprofit sector “gives [her] a unique perspective in serving the public, solving problems, and being a responsible steward of public funds.” Guess promotes teacher retention, school safety, and arts support.
Ericka Guess wants to prioritize teachers. She advocates for better teacher retention and wants to create more reasons for our current teachers to stay while also appealing to the next generation of educators. Guess also advocates for all school staff, not just teachers. In response to VBCPS School Board’s proposal to provide an additional 1% cost-of-living wage increase to teachers, Guess proposed, instead, that the 1% cost-of-living raise be distributed to all staff, including bus drivers, nurses, counselors, cafeteria staff, custodians, and others.
Guess is against the new Virginia Beach school board proposal to limit the number of speakers at future school board meetings, advocating for more communication from the community. She believes allowing speakers at school board meetings is “an important part of the democratic process.”
Guess promotes equity, believing that it “fosters understanding and enriches the educational experience for all.” Additionally, she stands for allocating funding for both the arts and media literacy. “A foundation in the arts prepares students for life beyond school. Well-informed students are the next generation of leaders.” Guess also promotes local art opportunities on her social media page, encouraging her followers to participate.
Lastly, Guess is running to promote school safety. Guess believes we need to create safer spaces for students by creating proactive gun violence prevention policies. In an interview for her candidacy, Guess noted she did not believe teachers should be expected to do the jobs of law enforcement.
Guess is running against Carolyn Weems.
Incumbent Carolyn Weems is a Republican candidate running for reelection. Weems, a graduate of Clemson University, has served on the Virginia Beach school board since 2002. In addition to teaching and coaching at Old Dominion University, Weems, an advocate for protecting children from the threat of drug addiction, founded a nonprofit called Caitlyn’s Halo which provides a community group and a speaking program that presents anti-drug talks in schools. Weems considers herself a"consistent conservative" and opposes the current school grading system believing “the change in grading practices has caused much more work for teachers and diminished student accountability.”
Because of her prioritization of community input in schools, focus on teacher retention, and emphasis on gun violence prevention, Erika Guess is the progressive choice for this year’s school board election.