Eric DeKenipp is resigning from the Loudoun County School Board, 14 months short of his full first term.
DeKenipp, who’s represented the Catoctin District since January 2016, said he would formally announce his resignation at the School Board meeting tonight. He said he needs to dedicate more time to his family and that Friday, Oct. 26 will be his last day on the board.
“I’ve found that my passion and commitment to the community has impacted my ability to dedicate important and non-recoverable time at home,” he said in a prepared statement. “This break in service will provide me with the time I need to dedicate to my family at home, while continuing to serve the community in other capacities. That is, until the time comes when I feel the need to once again step back into service in an official capacity.”
DeKenipp wrote in a statement provided to Loudoun Now that his advocacy work on behalf of the school district began in 2007 as an active parent volunteer. In 2012, three years before he ran for School Board, he took the school system to court over a school attendance zone decision that reassigned his children from John W. Tolbert Elementary School to the then-new Frederick Douglass Elementary School. He lost in court, but the case prompted a judge to recommend that the School Board have a more transparent process to redraw attendance lines. The School Board followed those recommendations and made big changes to its boundary policies.
DeKenipp also claimed several accomplishments in his three years on the board, including improving communication between School Board the Board of Supervisors and other local and state representatives; growing the school system’s footprint in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics; improving the county’s ability to attract, hire, develop and retain excellent teachers; developing responsible fiscal policy and dedicating more money toward academic programs; and identifying and expanding alternative revenue sources to reduce the public schools’ dependency on taxpayers.
“As I reflect on my commitments to the community and expanded priorities, I’m proud of the progress that we’ve made, and there is still much work to be done,” DeKenipp said. “The work that needs to be done is extremely important and during a period where my children are at a critical phase in their lives.”
The School Board has 15 days to petition the Loudoun County Circuit Court to issue a writ of election to fill the vacancy. At the same time, the School Board has 45 days to appoint a qualified board member from the Catoctin District, until a special election is scheduled to elect a candidate who will represent the district until the current term expires on Dec. 31, 2019.
Although it will be up to the School Board who finishes out DeKenipp’s term, DeKenipp has endorsed Bob Ohneiser as his successor. Ohneiser is an attorney who represented the Broad Run District on the School Board for two terms. He challenged Tom Reed for the board’s at-large seat in 2011 and lost, and he launched an unsuccessful challenge against Jim Plowman for commonwealth’s attorney in 2015.
It’s been seven years since the School Board appointed a person to the board. Sheridan was appointed in 2011 to represent the Sterling District after the death of longtime School Board member J. Warren Geurin. The School Board voted unanimously to appoint her to the position, and she’s since been elected to two terms.