Chronic Absenteeism on the Spotsylvania School Board


Spotsylvania School Board members April Gillespie, Berkeley district representative, and Lisa Phelps, Lee Hill district representative, have either been absent or left early from nine out of the 10 meetings the School Board has held so far this year.

Both board members left the January 8 organizational meeting early and Gillespie left the January 22 meeting early, according to official minutes approved by the Board.

The Board has not yet approved minutes for the other meetings held this year, but according to videos archived at Regional WebTV, Gillespie was absent from the January 29 meeting, Phelps left early from the February 12 meeting, and both were absent from the February 15 meeting.

This month, Phelps left early from the March 4 and March 25 meetings, and was absent from the March 12 and March 26 meetings.

Gillespie also left early from the March 25 meeting and was absent from the March 12 and March 26 meetings.

The Board has not approved minutes from any meetings held in 2023, but according to a review of approved minutes from 2022, Phelps only missed one of the 33 meetings held that year, and Gillespie missed none.

Rabih Abuismail, then the Courtland District representative, was absent or left early from six meetings that year.

Salem District representative Lorita Daniels was absent from one meeting in 2022 and Battlefield District representative Nicole Cole was absent from four and left early from one.

The Advance reached out to Phelps and Gillespie to ask about their attendance at meetings this year and did not receive a response.

The School Board’s Code of Ethics, which all members voted to approve at the first meeting this year, states that, “I will attend scheduled board meetings” and that “I will come to board meetings informed concerning the issues under consideration.”

Managing Editor and Correspondent