Andrew Hoyler: New School Board Member

The school board can feel like a mysterious entity to students whose only concept of it comes from screaming news headlines. Andrew Hoyler, the newest member of the school board, spoke with the Spartan newspaper staff to answer student questions and clear away confusion. “When I returned from Purdue University in 2018, I began to reflect on my time as a student in LCPS. I still had 3 siblings who were students in LCPS, and recognized that while LCPS set me up for success, there were a number of areas that I knew could be improved,” Hoyler said when asked about why he wanted to be a school board member. The twenty-five-year-old was chosen out of 8 applicants after the former Broad Run district seat, Ms. Leslee King, passed. He originally ran for the seat in 2019, an unsuccessful attempt. 

 

The school board does many things in the Loudoun County community. The school board creates and modifies school policies and sets the budget for Loudoun County Public Schools. The school budget is about 1.5 billion dollars. They also set the school calendars. “We have a number of committees that each of us sit on where policy revisions typically start; after that, it goes in front of the entire school board for discussion and a vote, if needed,” Hoyler said. Each committee needs five board members, which is a majority of the committee, to pass any policy revisions. The school board also has limitations. The school board can’t directly influence the way that teachers teach their students, which is under the Department of Instructions jurisdiction. Hoyler said, “The school board can direct Dr. Ziegler to focus on certain areas, but otherwise, that falls outside of our scope.” 

 

The Loudoun County School Board takes on many different projects throughout the school year. Hoyler said, “Some are big, others are small. It depends on the day.” In September, the school board passed revisions to the dress code. In February, the school board made the decision to remove the mask mandate, following new federal health guidelines from the CDC, a court decision, and a change in Virginia law.  In January, the school board voted to have mask mandates stay in place, 8-1. While cases have been decreasing, if they begin to rise again, Hoyler said, “Some restrictions may remain, but I do not see mandated masks returning.” 

 

In order for school board members to see the changes that they work in the community, and to get the perspectives of students, there are student school board representatives who go to every school board meeting. These student representatives give updates and share the student point of view with the school board members. School board members also sub in school classrooms. “[It] has allowed me to educate students on what we do, and give them the ability to give feedback on upcoming areas,” Hoyler said. People who are not members of the school board are allowed to view public comments and the meetings. If someone wishes to make a public comment at a school board meeting, they must sign up, and must be one of the following: residents of Loudoun County, businesses located in whole or part in Loudoun County, Loudoun County taxpayers, current or former LCPS students; parents and guardians of LCPS student that live outside of Loudoun County, or LCPS employees and retirees; or representatives of organizations serving LCPS employees and students.