Tommy Wright: Mecklenburg native appointed to board

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, March 30, 2023

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Tommy WrightGovernor Youngkin announced two major additions to his administration last week, a new member of the Board of Education and a new Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Lisa Coons, currently the Chief Academic Officer for the Tennessee Department of Education, will be the new Superintendent of Public Instruction. Lisa Coons has overseen Tennessee’s response to pandemic learning loss, and the results have been remarkable.

Under Lisa Coons, Tennessee launched a universal reading screening program coupled with universal tutoring and phonics-based learning.

Programs contain significant parental involvement, plus free K-8 learning camps to raise the number of instructional hours students get each year.

Tennessee also introduced a “Grow Your Own” program to bring teachers into the profession via an apprenticeship program.

The results speak for themselves, as students have caught up faster than in almost any other state.

Democrats were quick to attack Coons for the crime of being from Tennessee, which has lagged in education in the past.

No Democrats, however, could find any programmatic or occupational reasons to oppose Coons.

Governor Youngkin also appointed Dale Sturdifen to serve on the Board of Education, filling the seat vacated when Democrats rejected Indian immigrant Suparna Dutta for alleged “white supremacy.”

Sturdifen is a former VSP special agent, a retired Marine, and a former chair of the Mecklenburg County School Board.

He currently serves as a field director for 5th District Congressman Bob Good (R-Lynchburg).

Every Virginian deserves to live in a safe community. Republicans are focused on making that happen.

I have strongly advocated to the administrations that Southside, Virginia does not have enough representation around the Commonwealth. Governor Youngkin wants to make sure all voices and Virginias get a chance to sit in a chair at the table. I look forward to working with both Mrs. Lisa Coons and Mr. Dale Sturdifen to improve the quality of our Commonwealth.

Del. Tommy Wright can be reached via email at or (804) 698-1061.