Shelly Simonds is a candidate for the June 14 Democratic primary for Senate District 1. Ms. Simonds is currently serving her second term on the Newport News School Board having been first elected in 2012. Over the years she has been heavily involved in NNPS schools as PTA President of Hines Middle School and as the parent of two school-age daughters. She is a former teacher at Hilton Elementary School and had a previous career in journalism and public relations. She met her husband, a mechanical engineer, at Stanford University where she earned a master’s degree in communication. Her current business interests involve managing her family real estate investments.
“I am running for State Senate because I am qualified to carry on the legacy of our late Senator John Miller in education. I feel a sense of urgency to prepare our students for jobs in today's innovation economy. We need to make sure our education system meets the needs of today's workforce,” she said.
Ms. Simonds supports the expansion of curriculum in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). She also wants schools to encourage creativity and fundamental communication skills as well as more focus on career readiness.
"We have a thriving high-tech economy on the Peninsula. When I first ran for office I promised to strengthen our workforce by focusing on Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) education in our city. We on the School Board have succeeded in making Newport News a leading school district when it comes to STEM education in Virginia," Simonds says. She points to the following accomplishments by the Board during the past 4 years:
- Increased graduation rates to almost 90%
- Opened a new STEM health Science Academy magnet program at Warwick High School.
- Expanded STEM opportunities at Heritage High School by opening a new Governor’s STEM Academy.
- Began an innovative education program called SPARK to provide intensive STEM enrichment to low income students over the summer.
- Advocated for more funding for “extended learning time” in our state budget through advocacy with the Virginia School Board Association. NNPS was then able to secure a $1.2mn grant from the Department of Education to expand the SPARK program next summer.
Paid for and authorized by Simonds for Senate