Powhatan representative Joe Fuentes has announced he is resigning from the Williamsburg-James City County School Board after nearly 10 years of service.
In an email to Superintendent Steve Constantino and fellow School Board members this morning, Fuentes writes the commitments of his job as well as “several ongoing personal family and external obligations and issues” have made it “difficult to focus” in the past year.
“This decision has been difficult and something that I started to consider a few months ago. I have come to realize that there are only so many hours in a day and so many days in a week,” Fuentes wrote.
He wrote his resignation would be effective Jan. 15, 2016. His current term, which began in 2014, expires Dec. 31, 2017.
Dianna Moorman, deputy director of elections for James City County, said when the seat is vacated the remaining School Board members have 45 days to appoint a successor. The appointed member will represent Powhatan until a special election can be held.
Moorman said the registrar’s office is requesting the special election be held in conjunction with the November general election next year.
If the election is scheduled for another date, more ballots would need to be printed and the school day may be affected at four WJCC schools, which serve as the polling places for the Powhatan district.
“That would put a huge encumbrance on the county to hold four elections in one year,” Moorman said, noting that two primary elections and a general election will be held in 2016.
He was first elected to the School Board in 2005 and was re-elected in 2009 and 2013.
While redistricting in 2011 pushed him out of the Powhatan district, Fuentes said it was only a “contributing factor” and not the primary reason why he decided to move out of his home in Windsor Forest and into Seasons Trace in 2013.
After taking a break, Fuentes said he would like to do more with the Seasons Trace HOA, adding that members have encouraged him to take on a leadership role.
“I’m hoping to get a little more involved with that than I am now,” Fuentes said.
Fuentes and his wife are listed as the property owners of both a home in Seasons Trace, which is in the Powhatan District, and Windsor Forest, which is in the Jamestown District.
Fuentes is a branch head for NAVSEA and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He has lived in the area for more than 30 years and his two grown daughters attended WJCC schools.
In an email to WYDaily, Fuentes wrote that it was a “privilege” to serve Powhatan residents and he would miss his interactions with constituents.
“Almost all my interactions have been overwhelmingly positive,” Fuentes wrote. “And when you are standing line at the store and someone you do not know comes up and says that you are asking the right questions, it makes your day.”
With Fuentes’ departure, representatives Jim Kelly (Jamestown) and Kyra Cook (City of Williamsburg) will be the only sitting members who have served more than a year on the School Board.
Kelly has served on and off on the School Board since 2009, first in Berkeley and then in Jamestown after redistricting. Cook began her first appointed term at the beginning of 2015.
New School Board members in 2016 include elected members Sandy Young (Berkeley), Jim Beers (Roberts), Holly Taylor (Stonehouse) and appointed member Julie Hummel (City of Williamsburg).