Meet Shelly

Shelly with her two daughters

When I was in high school, I had some wonderful teachers who ignited my curiosity about the world and an excitement for learning. That curiosity has guided my life, pushing me to experience education around the world, from Spain, to Chile, to Palo Alto, California, and to Newport News, the city where I have built my life and started my family.

And it’s why I’m running to be your Delegate in the Virginia State House today. I want to bring that inspiration and passion for education to the people of Virginia.

My love of learning first emerged when I had a chance to spend a year in Spain as an AFS Exchange Student. And after graduation, I went on to study International Relations and Latin American Studies and at Bucknell University, where I also earned a Rotary Fellowship to spend a year at the University of Chile. It was there I discovered a love of writing and journalism that led me to Stanford University for a Masters in Communications.

My husband, Paul, and I moved to Newport News in 2000, when he was hired as a NASA engineer. We soon realized that Newport News was the perfect place to raise our two daughters, Georgia and Tessa. And after my second daughter turned two, I returned to the workforce as a Spanish teacher at their school, Hilton Elementary, and discovered a new passion for teaching. I had never had a workplace where I felt like I was part of a team with such purpose. We spent our lunch breaks talking about our students and how we could encourage them.

In 2012, I was elected to the School Board on a platform of support for teachers and workforce development. I still feel like I’m on the teacher’s team because I’m fighting for their resources, and I understand, first-hand, the challenges and joys of their important work in our community. Through the Virginia School Board Association, I’ve been a vocal advocate for education, and I helped write the final report for our Challenged Schools Taskforce in 2015. This report helped secure funding for extended learning programs in the Commonwealth.

I’ve also been a longtime environmental activist. I got my start in Virginia politics as a member of the Legislative Contact Team with the League of Conservation Voters. This work is also incredibly important to me, and something that I want to fight for in the General Assembly, if elected.

As a mother, an educator, an activist, and an entrepreneur, I know I can hit the ground running to bring positive change to my community when I become a member of the General Assembly.