Anita – tell us about yourself!

My first experience on a volunteer board was when I was appointed to the Winchester City School Board in the late 1970’s. At the time of my appointment, I had taught school for several years, and was taking a few years away from my profession to be at home with our daughters. This appointment changed my perception of volunteer work because of the structure, the time involved, research, and advocacy for students and educators that impacted all of my future participation in community activities. As a fairly young mother and professional, I was exposed to community members who taught me leadership skills, commitment, the importance of frank discussions, the habit of listening to all viewpoints, and the critical concept of caring and working for the good of an entire community and not just one aspect of it, but all activities, needs, and especially ALL members of a community. While being active in volunteering and the educational profession, I have been fortunate to have many friends who have placed community needs as a priority. These friendships have enhanced my commitment to organizations.

I continue to serve in volunteer positions, and have had the opportunity to participate with organizations that have diverse missions. Each has provided me with positive experiences, and I continue to learn about nonprofits and their importance to a community. Most recently, I have been working with the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum and the Winchester Campaign for Grade – Level Reading. Both organizations embrace the needs of children, but with different approaches and goals. The Discovery Museum’s mission is to inspire learning and curiosity through exploration and play. I have really enjoyed working with the museum as a former Board member and now as a member of the Exhibits and Program Committee. It is exciting to watch as exhibits change and expand, and to observe the wide range of programs that are offered to our young people and to the local educational community. Everyone should take time to drop by and observe our young people learning and playing in an eclectic atmosphere.

I also serve on the Steering Committee for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. This local effort focuses on the educational gaps of children by supporting programs and services needed to increase skills in reading. CGLR partners with Winchester Public Schools and other organizations in the area. The goals of the Campaign have touched me greatly because meeting the needs of the children in our community is a primary focus. Being able to provide learning opportunities and supporting the educational staff is critical for our local students. The partnering with so many organizations is impressive and certainly, a benefit for all involved. We are fortunate to have strong leadership that exists through the many partnerships to effectively promote and implement this effort. Again, I have had a learning curve, but am honored to be working with so many knowledgeable members from the Winchester area. With every group I work with as a volunteer, my beliefs and values are reinforced by Winchester and Frederick County residents that give so much of their time, money, creativity, and love to for our area with all of its needs and with all of the benefits of living here.

Probably one of my favorite volunteer tasks over the past several years has been to assist some classes in Winchester to provide instruction for students that prepare them for daily issues and for their personal growth and development. Each day ends in smiles, new information, joy in the youth, and yes, sometimes hurt for so many of the obstacles that our youth face each day. As a community we should be very grateful for all of the adults that embrace our young people.

We have a large group of nonprofits, churches, professional organizations, and individuals who make a commitment to improve our community. It is truly amazing! It is also personally rewarding for me. I love working with people of many backgrounds. I have so many wonderful memories and experiences. It is great to work with all ages and all types of individuals, and for me recently, to work with one of my former students has been especially enlightening!! One of my special memories is being named Doo Dah Queen with Dr. Dan Schiavone as Doo Dah King by the Winchester Child Parent Center. We had a very good time being royalty!

I have lived in the Winchester and Frederick County area all of my life. My husband, Nathan, and I have two daughters, Alison and Natalie. Alison and her husband, Carmine, live in Perry Hall, Maryland. They have a daughter, Isabella who is 18, and 14 year old twin sons, Nate and Nicholas. Natalie and her husband, Justin, live in Frederick County and have one daughter, Carter, who is 18 and the oldest of our grandchildren. Grandparenting is very special for us. We also have several “granddogs”. Our family has chosen careers that assist youth and their families. This has been very rewarding for my husband and me. Nathan and I are members of the First Presbyterian Church.

Professionally, I began my teaching experience in Frederick County, and then after being gone from the profession for almost ten years I joined the Winchester School System where I taught in several schools and served as an administrator. I loved teaching, and still take joy in keeping in touch with many students and staff. It is always a pleasure to see or hear from a former student that I have not seen in a long while. I have a great deal of respect for educators and school employees today. They face many challenges and are very dedicated.

My husband and I have farm animals. We have goats, a donkey, chickens, rabbits and of course, our resident deer. We love to travel and I am an avid bird watcher. We truly enjoy our area and all of the opportunities it provides for all aspects of our life. We especially enjoy the museums, the music venues, access to plays; the large number of dining opportunities, nature, and of course, the history. We enjoyed living close to downtown Winchester for years, and now we cherish a beautiful view from our Frederick County home. We are blessed to have the privilege of enjoying the joint communities.