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After several hours of closed-session interviews, the Bedford County School Board announced Thursday that it had selected Cheryl Toler of Forest to replace David Black, who resigned his District 3 seat last month because of a job transfer to North Carolina.
Toler was one of five candidates who had applied with the board to fill the seat until an election can be held to fill the remaining three-year portion of Black’s term. That election will be held in November and Toler has filed to run along with Robert Bradford Whorley.
The board approved Toler’s interim appointment on a 4-2 vote with board members David Vaden and Shirley McCabe voting in dissent. City School Board member Mickey VanDerwerker was not at the meeting and board members Gary Hostutler, Joy Wright, Julie Bennington and Debbie Hoback voted in favor of Toler’s appointment.
“It was a very difficult decision,” School Board chairwoman Debbie Hoback stated of making the choice. “We had excellent applicants.”
Toler has resided in Bedford County for the past 20 years, is married and has three children, two who are still attending county schools. The oldest graduated from Jefferson Forest High School in 2009.
Toler has been employed as manager of human resources, safety and training for Mail America Communications since 2005. She has previously served as a substitute teacher for BCPS and also served as president of the New London Academy PTA.
“I am grateful for this opportunity to serve the residents of District 3,” Toler stated. “Bedford County is such a wonderful area to raise a family, and I look forward to working with my new colleagues to ensure that our educational system continues to provide our children with the tools necessary to flourish the rest of their lives.”
Toler is a 1985 graduate of Brookville High School and has more than 20 years of experience in business and human resources management. “I am very concerned and passionate about the educational opportunities and experience of all the children in Bedford County,” she stated in her application. “I want to be an active partner in strengthening our children’s educational foundation.”
She has resided in Bedford County since 1990. She said she wants to “truly make a difference for our children and their future.”
“I come into this with an open mind,” Toler stated. “I really want to look into the concerns of the entire district.”
She said the school board has had to make some tough decisions this year with the budget cuts it has faced. “I know those were decisions that they didn’t come to easily,” she said.
Whorley had also applied with the board to serve as the interim board member prior to the election. A beef and dairy farmer for 37 years as well as the owner/operator of Peaksview Trucking Inc., Whorley said in his application that his experience in farming and business would be an asset to the board. “I understand finance and I understand what it takes to lead,” Whorley stated in the application. He stated that he wanted to help the school board fund schools while dealing with the economic issues as well as providing more opportunities for students.
A Bedford County resident for the past 41 years, Whorley attended Bedford County schools, graduating from JFHS. His children also graduated from BCPS and his father served on the county board of supervisors. His mother taught at the original Forest Elementary School and retired from teaching at New London Academy.
Others who applied to serve as the interim board member until the November election included Robert Hamilton Ashwell, Walter Henry Nichols and Thomas Lowell Keene.