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Education

Virginia county hires superintendent with no education experience

SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Spotsylvania School Board has finalized their choice for the district’s new superintendent, a controversial candidate with no educational background and a history of inflammatory social media posts.

Mark Taylor previously served as county administrator in nearby Greene County, and prior to that served as counsel for Spotsylvania. He has no background in education.

“I would like to thank the Spotsylvania School Board for their trust in me to lead the School Division,” Taylor said in a statement on Sept. 21. “I look forward to working with the whole School Board, all of the administration, and the teachers and support staff to create an environment of innovation, inclusion, and high achievement in Spotsylvania schools.”

Taylor is set to begin his duties on November 1.

A Controversial History

The school board’s new conservative majority abruptly fired the previous superintendent without cause in January, and nominated Taylor to replace him after a brief search marred by accusations of cronyism.

Taylor was granted his superintendent’s license by the state board of education after a tense public hearing, during which even board members who voted in favor of his license said they believed the Spotsylvania School Board should not hire him.

“Were I on a local board I would consider these Facebook posts a disqualification,” said Youngkin appointee Dr. Alan Seibert.

The Facebook posts he referenced were a series of memes, posted to Taylor’s personal page, mocking transgender people and school shootings, as well as making racist innuendos.

Facebook posts, apparently made by Mark Taylor, which were submitted to the Board of Education for consideration in September.

In an interview with ABC-affiliate WJLA, Taylor claimed that he did not make the posts — which were dated over several months and interspersed with posts Taylor did not dispute making — and said his account may have been hacked.

And just last week, the Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office announced they would no longer provide security at school board meetings, writing that “our deputies on numerous occasions have been put in a position to side with one or more members regarding ‘disruptive’ citizens.”

The requests by board members, Major Troy Skebo told 8News, raised concerns that the deputies could be interfering with residents’ right to free expression and participation in the public processes of government.

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