It is with mixed emotions that I am announcing my resignation from the Waynesboro School Board, effective June 30th. My family will be relocating out of Waynesboro due to a recent career promotion. This was not an easy decision for me to make, as I have greatly enjoyed collaborating with community members and school leaders in this role. It’s been an honor to serve in this capacity on the Waynesboro School Board. Together we have already achieved many goals in the interest of our students, and I look forward to seeing continued progress in quality education, student achievement and support, and advocacy for Waynesboro schools and faculty.

Post-election thanks

13138929_1598858507026305_1561664577683145246_nI achieved a lifelong dream last week thanks to you. Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be a public servant. I’ve always been interested in the government and how it operates. My father would take me every year to Washington, DC for my birthday so I could witness the inner workings of democracy in action. I even had a framed copy of the Declaration of Independence on my bedroom wall.

Thanks to you and your support, I was able to take my two boys last Tuesday to the polling place to see their mama’s name on the ballot. Words cannot express how much that moment meant to me.

I have greatly enjoyed getting to know many of you during the election and campaign process. I do hope that you continue to keep in touch and keep me informed of your concerns. I can serve you best if I hear from you frequently.

Please stay involved and stay active – write emails, show up at meetings, stay engaged! Thanks to you I will be able to continue to serve the students of Waynesboro. With a year under my belt I am ready to go forward with the knowledge and experience I have gained to ensure a quality education for all of our children.

In the coming weeks I will be transitioning to house additional content beyond my work on the School Board. My hope is that people will find it useful in understanding more about myself and my views on education.

Click here to view the Election Day photo album on Facebook.

Let’s get out the vote!

Shelly Vote imageIt’s hard to believe the election is right around the corner! Unfortunately as I am typing this up the weather is calling for rain and thunderstorms on Tuesday. However, we will not let a little rain stand in our way on Election Day. Too many people have fought too long and too hard to ensure the right to vote and it is vital that we exercise that right each and every Election Day. As a citizen of this great nation it is not only our right but also our responsibility to be an active participant in the government. As a young child I remember my parents taking me with them to vote. As soon as I turned 18 I registered to vote and my first election was a presidential election. Ever since Eric and I had our first son we’ve been taking the boys with us to the polling place so they can see democracy in action.

Especially for young voters (have you seen my campaign video for first time voters?), this is such an exciting time to cast your ballot and have your voice heard. If you’re new to voting, go with a friend or two – make it a social experience!

Have any last minute questions for me before you head to the polls? Email me, tweet me (@ShellyLaurenzo) – I want to make sure you are fully informed before you cast your ballot.

If you need a ride to your polling place on Tuesday please let me know.

Lastly, be sure to VOTE on May 3rd – hope to see you on Election Day!

Thank You

Growing up in the South, my mother stressed the importance of thank you notes from an early age. After the holidays she would even threaten to return gifts if I didn’t get my thank you’s out before New Year’s Day! And while I’ve always been partial to a classic pen and paper note, there are simply too many people for me to thank and I want to make sure I thank them in a timely manner (but don’t worry, there will still be some mail heading out in the coming weeks too). Below are some important thank you’s:

  • Supporters: Thank you for the likes on Facebook, encouraging words, notes, website visits, and everything else you’ve done to let me know I have your support and vote. It’s humbling to see so much kindness surrounding my campaign and I’m thankful for each of you.
  • Letter writers: I would like to thank all of you who took the time out of your day to craft an endorsement of me and my campaign to our local papers. I appreciate not only your support but your willingness to share your thoughts and reasonings with fellow voters.
  • Sign holders: Thank you to all of those willing to host a sign or two in your yards. I know in a small community sometimes it can be a bit scary to literally place your politics in your yard, so please know that I appreciate this gesture.
  • Donors: I have been extremely fortunate to have people contribute to my campaign to ensure that the voters of Waynesboro can learn more about my experience and candidacy. I truly appreciate your contribution.
  • Campaign volunteers: I would be completely lost in this process without the valuable time and energy of the campaign’s volunteers. Thank you for collaborating with me and being the star players of this campaign. Your behind the scenes work and coordination is very appreciated.
  • My family: Last, but certainly not least, none of this would be possible without the support of my husband and best friend, Eric. I could not have asked for a better partner in life. My boys have been a constant source of love and inspiration for me. And at the end of the day I’m ultimately reminded that I’m not doing this for my children, I’m doing this for all of our children.

School Visit: Wenonah Elementary School


Selfie with Principal Tonya Carter

When I visited Wenonah and had a chance to chat with Principal Tonya Carter the first thing I noticed was her energy (and her shoes, her shoe game is on point).  You can feel it and it’s contagious. Even though she just came to Waynesboro Public Schools last summer, she has already established herself as an invaluable part of our educational community. She is providing strong leadership for the students and faculty at Wenonah. Mr. Wills, also a recent addition to Wenonah, has been spearheading a STEM Academy for students after school and was nominated for WPS’s Teacher of the Year award this year. The leadership at Wenonah is focused on the success of their students – having already accomplished so much this year, I can’t wait to see what they accomplish next year.

School Board Debate Recap

Shelly Laurenzo Waynesboro School Board Debate

School Board Debate, April 26, 2016

Last night’s School Board Debate was fun and informative! First I would like to thank Brian Carlton from the News Virginian for moderating the debate and The French Press for hosting and providing an intimate venue. I was glad to see so many community members come out on a rainy Tuesday night to listen to this discussion about Waynesboro Public Schools.

I have been very open and transparent about my views and positions, both as a member of the School Board and as a candidate. As a member of the School Board we have addressed teacher pay, ensuring teachers match their step and have increased the pay rates of the entry steps. We are also implementing a 2% raise for our teachers starting the next fiscal year.

Shelly Laurenzo Waynesboro School Board debate

School Board Debate, April 26, 2016

I have provided additional service as a member of the Special Education Advisory Committee and leadership as chair of the steering committee for the Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School. I have also championed a student representative position on our School Board to ensure consistent feedback from our students. If elected, I will continue to advocate for our students and our educational community.

This is such a pivotal moment in our community and I hope that you, the voters in our community do your due diligence, research the candidates, and ask them the hard questions. And most importantly, vote on May 3rd – make sure your voice is heard loud and clear by casting your ballot on Election Day! 

Read more about my campaign and endorsements.

School Visit: Kate Collins Middle School


Selfie with Principal Janet Buchheit

I think we can all admit that middle school is rough. There are so many physical and emotional changes that people go through at that age, it takes its toll on everyone. Personally I had braces, glasses, and a back brace in middle school – jackpot! Suffice it to say, I do not envy the job of a middle school principal. Janet Buchheit, the principal at Kate Collins Middle School, totally gets all of that and of course sees those changes in her students everyday. She is making great strides to ensure they have the support needed to succeed, especially during such an important developmental period. Not only are these students going through a variety of changes, but this is also the first time they are all being pulled together from across the city. Ms. Buchheit works closely with the elementary schools to help the transition in as well as the high school to help with the transition out. While she has a tough job, she handles it with great skill and confidence.

School Visit: Berkeley Glenn Elementary


Selfie with Principal Leola Burks

Berkeley Glenn was a whirlwind of excitement when I stopped by, it was right during a fire drill! The teachers and administrators swiftly and efficiently escorted the students out of the building and fortunately it was a gorgeous day to be outside. Once Principal Leola Burks saw everyone back inside we had an opportunity to chat about her year so far. We talked a bit about finding creative solutions to approaching SOL prep, including after school options as well as how to approach the whole process to reduce student stress. Waynesboro’s elementary schools are also in the process of adopting new reading texts and Principal Burks was looking forward to updating those resources. Our elementary schools always have such great energy and I greatly enjoyed my afternoon visit there.

School Visit: Westwood Hills Elementary School


Selfie with Renae Deffenbaugh, principal

When I had the opportunity to sit with Ms. Deffenbaugh in early March the first thing we talked about was instruction. Westwood Hills faculty are focused on providing high quality instruction and in particular there is a unique focus on technology. She shared information on Little Bits, their after school enrichment program focused on STEM. I also saw the collection of Google Chromebooks for the K-2 classrooms, she said there are five to six per classroom. Westwood is also fortunate to have a very active PTO which funded three of their computer labs.
As I was exiting the school the Kate Collins Middle School Band was coming over to perform for the elementary school students – what a great introduction to the performing arts in our school system!
This coming weekend I am looking forward to participating in the Westwood Hills PTO’s Dash with a Splash 5K – fingers crossed for good weather!

Joint City Council / School Board Meeting Recap

I am very pleased with the progress we made at the joint working session of City Council and School Board this past Friday. Both bodies are actively working together to address our educational facilities needs and I am energized by our plan to move forward. We are collaborating to find a solution to best serve our students and community.
If you would like to talk about this further then I would encourage you to come to my Meet & Greet next Monday, April 18th, from 6pm – 7:30pm at the Waynesboro Library.

News Coverage of the meeting: