By Aila Boyd
Daniel Angell, a Fincastle resident, is running to represent the Fincastle District on the Botetourt County School Board.
A life-long resident of the Roanoke Valley, Angell moved to Botetourt County in 2013. He holds an undergraduate degree from Radford University in accounting. Having begun his career in the accounting department at Norfolk Southern, he now holds the title of human resources and employee benefits manager at American HealthCare.
“If elected to the School Board, it would be my goal to work with parents, teachers, school administration, and local leadership to provide students with the education and technical training needed to be successful in our community,” he said.
Citing the fact that his wife is currently employed as a math teacher at Lord Botetourt High School and the recent birth of his daughter, Angell said that he has a “vested interest” in Botetourt County Public Schools. Because of that vested interest, he said he’s running for the School Board in order to “make the schools be as good as they possibly can be.”
Overall, he describes the school division as being “great,” but added that he sees areas that could be improved upon.
In order to make it onto the November 5 ballot, Angell had to collect 100 signatures from Fincastle District residents. He explained that over the course of collecting those signatures, he gathered a good understanding of the areas in which residents think change is needed.
One of the issues that Angell said needs to be paid attention to is fiscal responsibility. With declining enrollment figures, which directly impacts state funding, he said that it will be crucial for the division to make sure that it’s getting feedback about the best ways to utilize its funding.
An example he provided was that when it came time for the math department at Lord Botetourt High School to order new textbooks, the teachers informed the administration that ordering new textbooks wouldn’t be the best way to go considering that most of the material that they used came from other sources. Angell said that the teachers were told that because there was an established process of ordering new books and that they had been budgeted for that, they would go ahead and do so. He reported that since the new books have come in, they have primarily been collecting dust in a corner.
He said that coming from his background in dealing with employee benefits, he thinks that the money the division designates for health insurance coverage could be better spent. Because of the fact that salaries and benefits represent a majority of the division’s budget, he said, it’s important to have someone on the School Board who is knowledgeable in such matters.
The purpose of the School Board, Angell said, is to lead the school division by finding the right people to fill positions from the administrative level down to the instructional level.
The goal of the school division as a whole, he said, should be to provide all of the students with the necessary skills they will need in order to be successful in the community. He noted that not all of the students will follow the same path. Some will go to college, he said, whereas others will want to learn a trade. For those students who prefer to go the trade route, he said that the Botetourt Technical Education Center (BTEC) is a great place to be. He added that he would like to see BTEC continue to grow.
Angell said that he has been paying close attention to the school division and the School Board for the past year, reading news articles and the minutes from the monthly meetings.
The Fincastle District on the School Board is currently represented by John Alderson, who announced his intention not to seek re-election earlier this year.
Beth Leffel and Dana McCaleb will also appear on the November 5 ballot for the Fincastle District.