W&M Professor to Run for Berkeley Seat on WJCC School Board

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John Riofrio (Courtesy John Riofrio)
John Riofrio (Courtesy John Riofrio)

A faculty member at the College of William & Mary is seeking a seat on the Williamsburg-James City County School Board.

John “Rio” Riofrio, a professor of Latino Studies at William & Mary, is running to replace Ruth Larson as the Berkeley District representative on the WJCC School Board.

Larson is vacating the seat to run for the James City County Board of Supervisors.

Riofrio, a resident of the Berkeley’s Green neighborhood, said maintaining the quality of WJCC Schools motivated him to launch the campaign.

“I am running for a seat on the WJCC School Board because I believe that schools are the life blood of a community,” Riofrio said in a news release. “A great community starts with a great school system, and I am dedicated to ensuring that James City County remains steadfast in its commitment to educating all of its students to the very best of our ability.”

Riofrio said his campaign would be defined by a common-sense approach, attention to current educational trends and research, a focus on striving for excellence and an emphasis on the importance of good schools to the community and local economy.

“What this means in practical terms is that, if elected, I will push to make an already good school system even better,” Riofrio said in a news release. “As a school board member I will seek to build on the significant achievements of our current – and former – school board representatives, to ensure our schools continue to attract the best and the brightest residents to the Historic Triangle.”

Riofrio, who is married with four children, has lived in James City County since 2009 and has 20 years of experience in education, including five years as an elementary school teacher in Atlanta and Ecuador. He received William & Mary’s Thomas Jefferson Teaching Award in February for teaching excellence.

Riofrio currently serves on the board of All Together, a local community dedicated to fostering community conversations on diversity issues, and is a member of the Berkeley’s Green Homeowners Association.

Riofrio is the third candidate to launch a campaign for the WJCC School Board. Incumbent Stonehouse representative Jim Nickols announced in April he would seek another term on the board.

Grove resident Petra Nadal entered the race in April to replace Heather Cordasco as the Roberts District representative. Cordasco is currently the Republican candidate for the Board of Supervisors Roberts District race.

The WJCC School Board is a nonpartisan board that consists of seven members — five from James City County and two representing the City of Williamsburg.

James City County’s representatives are elected to represent geographic districts, while Williamsburg’s are appointed by the City Council.

All members serve four-year terms.

Elise Emanuel (City of Williamsburg) previously said she would not seek reappointment to the board when her term expires Dec. 31.

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