By: Cherie Nielsen
As my tenure as a member of the PublicSchoolOptions.org Board of Directors comes to a close, I am reminded of where we started, proud of what we’ve accomplished, and looking forward to the exciting road ahead.
My twin boys were in the third grade and my daughter was in kindergarten when I first joined arms with fellow school choice advocates. Our Virginia state legislature was considering a bill that would threaten when virtual students would start classes — but didn’t apply the same rule to traditional brick-and-mortar schools. Eventually, the bill was killed, but not before Virginia parents called and emailed elected officials about the unfair treatment of virtual students.
This was my first taste of parent advocacy — and I jumped right in, head first! Through six and a half years of leading the Virginia Chapter of PSO, five years on the national Board of Directors, and four and a half years serving as Treasurer of the Board, my proudest moments involved ensuring that parents’ voices were heard in the effort to advance better policies for the public education system.
My sincere hope is that the Virginia legislature will once again listen to parents and pass our virtual school bill. I’m glad to continue my role as Virginia Chapter parent leader to help make this dream a reality. If passed, Virginia Virtual Academy will be a full-time statewide school serving grades Kindergarten through 12th grade.
As I anticipate my sixth Parent Advocacy Boot Camp, our annual national conference, this weekend, I am nostalgic about my time spent working on this important issue. But, I can’t wait to see where this beloved organization is after another six years!