John Alderson, who currently represents the Fincastle District on the Botetourt County School Board, recently announced his decision not to seek re-election.
He has served on the School Board for the last seven years and five months. His term will expire on December 31.
“They’re innately bright and gifted,” Alderson said of local students. “We want them to be leaders and not followers.”
A graduate of Fincastle High School, Alderson, said that he was friends with the late Jack Leffel. When Leffel decided to vacate his School Board seat in order to run for the Board of Supervisors, Alderson said he was motivated to run for the School Board because he thought he might be able to make a difference in the county.
Alderson said that when he joined the School Board, all of the other members had been already been on there for quite some time and helped him gain his sea legs. Most of the members tend to gravitate towards their strengths, Alderson said. His turned out to be the financial side of the operation of the school division.
Alderson reports that the relationship between the School Board and the Board of Supervisors has been “great” throughout the time that he has represented the Fincastle District.
“The county has always been generous in funding the school division,” Aldersons said. “The schools have always been a top priority.”
He added that the county seriously takes into account the school division’s needs and that the school division’s academic ranking reflects that. He added that the divisions ranking is also partially attributable to Superintendent John Busher.
When considering some of the accomplishment’s that the School Board has achieved over the course of his time on it, Alderson said that the new Colonial Elementary School and the increase in teacher salaries both stand out.
Although early conversations concerning the construction of a new Colonial Elementary School were occurring when he joined the School Board, a lack of funding prevented the project from moving forward. Eventually, the idea started to gain some steam. Now, the school is set to open in the fall of 2020. Alderson stressed that the school will be “state of the art” and that it is coming to fruition without the need of increased taxes.
As for teacher salaries, Alderson said that they still aren’t where they need to be and that the division is, and will continue to be, in a competition for teachers.
Similarly, he said that the “road ahead will be very challenging” due to the fact that the “county won’t be flushed with money.”
Alderson farmed until he was 32, then founded the Daleville-based John Alderson Agency. The business now has a 32-state footprint.
Never one to be idle, Alderson said that retirement isn’t for him. Two things, he noted, kill men: depression and the rocking chair. He insisted that he doesn’t plan on letting either one of them get to him.
Going forward, Alderson will still be involved in the day-to-day operations of his insurance business.
With the extra time that he will have following the expiration of his term, Alderson said that he will devote more time to his two grandsons and farming.