Connie Froggatt announced this week that she will not run for a second term on the Montgomery County School Board.
And Sofia Midkiff, who is on the board of the Blacksburg Chinese School, announced she will run for Froggatt’s seat.
Froggatt was elected to the District F seat in 2015 after having spent some years as a member of the Parent Teacher Association and working for Montgomery County Public Schools as a substitute and an AP testing coordinator at Blacksburg High School.
In addition to her work with MCPS, Froggatt has a background in science and technology and is among a handful of current board members with career ties to those fields.
After studying mathematics and statistics at Radford University in the 1980s, Froggatt spent several years at the NASA Langley Research Center where she did software engineering and worked on projects tied to wind tunnels and satellites, among other things.
Froggatt attributed her decision to not seek re-election to several reasons.
“One of them is the fact that my kids are in graduate school,” she said. “I’m getting beyond that point where I have a direct influence and sort of a pulse on what’s going on in our schools.”
Froggatt said she has been involved with MCPS in some capacity for 18 years. She said her one and only term on the board — three of which she served as vice chairwoman — is “as far as I can get” in terms of making an impact on local public school matters.
Froggatt said she will remain involved in civic issues, but will instead turn more of her attention toward statewide matters that involve work with legislators.
Midkiff told The Roanoke Times Wednesday that she will run for the District F seat.
Midkiff has received Froggatt’s endorsement.
“Montgomery County is one of the best school districts in … Virginia thanks to our extraordinary leaders, teachers and staff, our excellent students and very supportive parents,” Midkiff wrote in a prepared statement. “As a parent myself, I want Montgomery County Public Schools to continue to thrive and to be even better in the future.”
Midkiff immediately identified school funding as one area she’d like to help improve.
“One area of concern is unstable school funding,” Midkiff wrote. “Too often, school funding is the first to be cut when the county has financial shortfalls, but is the last to recover when finances improve. In some cases, funding never recovers. As a result, some good programs are not properly funded.”
Another issue for Midkiff is MCPS teacher pay, which she said needs to be more competitive when compared with neighboring school districts. She said she has concerns about the pay potentially resulting in teacher shortages.
The Blacksburg Chinese School is a roughly four-decades-old academic and cultural center where, among numerous programs, enrollees can learn Chinese.
Many of the school’s students over the years have come from expat families who were drawn to the New River Valley by the universities.
Midkiff was among a handful of parents who a few years ago advocated for MCPS to teach Chinese in the classroom.
Among the reasons given for teaching Chinese in the classroom is that instructing the language in person is much more effective than only learning it online. Supporters touted global business and the worldwide use of the language as other reasons.
Midkiff’s career involved time with IBM as a business consultant and some years as an adjunct professor at Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business.
In addition to District F, also on the ballot in November will be District B, E and G.