Tip of the cap to Jackie Carr

Published 4:45 pm Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Jackie Carr’s awkward departure from the Isle of Wight County School Board shouldn’t define a stellar career of service to the schoolchildren of this community.

A beloved former principal of the highly regarded Carrsville Elementary School, Carr would go on to make an important countywide contribution as a central office administrator. After retirement, she continued her devotion to public education in Isle of Wight with thankless service on the School Board, eventually elected by her colleagues as its chair.

At every step along the way, Carr’s commitment to excellent public schools has been evident. She has played an important role in IWCS’ consistent ranking as the best public school division in the region.

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As Carr steps away from public service this week, having abandoned a fall reelection bid for her Carrsville District seat on the School Board, many in the community, sadly, will remember her for a tumultuous year of school board leadership at a time when national debates over race and sexuality began riling up parents in Isle of Wight.

Carr was a primary target of parental ire over “equity and inclusion” efforts that critics say are laden with tenets of Critical Race Theory, or the belief that white people are privileged oppressors who systemically deny Black people and other minorities the equality they deserve. An early staunch defender of Superintendent Jim Thornton’s efforts on race relations, Carr, then a candidate for reelection, began hedging when an opponent made CRT and transgender policy focal points of his campaign.

After the ballots had been printed and as early voting began, Carr “withdrew” from the race, then awkwardly encouraged supporters to vote for her anyway, as part of a strategy that would have seen her win the race, then resign, so that the School Board could appoint a Carrsville District representative more like Carr than her opponent, John Collick Jr.

Collick won the race comfortably and now Carr leaves IWCS, presumably for the final time after a distinguished career as an educator and policymaker. We wish her well and thank her for her service to the many Isle of Wight schoolchildren whose lives she positively affected.