VBCPS - Charting the Course
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Natalie Allen
Date: 01/11/23 Phone: 757.263.1313
News Release No. 008 Fax: 757.263.1010
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Riggs elected as School Board chairwoman, Weems elected vice chairwoman

At its Jan. 10 meeting, the School Board of the City of Virginia Beach elected Trenace Riggs as chairwoman and elected Carolyn Weems as vice chairwoman.

"I am honored that my colleagues elected me as board chair. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to start fresh and to do the important work of serving the students, staff, and families of Virginia Beach. I am hopeful that we can be united in our mission to positively shape the school environment for future generations."

Riggs was elected to the school board in November 2016 and re-elected in 2020. Born in Norfolk, but raised in Virginia Beach, she is a product of Virginia Beach City Public Schools, having attended Woodstock Elementary School and Kempsville High School. After earning her Bachelor of Science in education from Radford College, Riggs began her career as a kindergarten teacher in Currituck County Schools where she taught for two years before joining VBCPS. In Virginia Beach, she continued her career as a kindergarten teacher for 17 years at Creeds and Kempsville Meadows elementary schools and as a sixth grade English and social studies teacher for 19 years at Larkspur Middle School. After retiring in 2012, Riggs served as President of the Virginia Beach Education Association (VBEA) through June 2016. She also served on the Virginia Education Association (VEA) board and executive board for 10 years (2006-2016). Riggs is married to John Wakefield, a retired VBCPS teacher. Between them, they have a daughter and three sons, all of whom graduated from Virginia Beach City Public Schools. Riggs also holds a master's degree in early childhood education from Old Dominion University.

"This is a new year and it can be a new day for our board," Weems said. "Differences are inevitable, but division is a choice. Let's choose to not be divided, but instead stand in the messy middle where problems are solved."

Carolyn Weems was first elected to the School Board in 2002. She moved to Virginia Beach after graduating from Clemson University and has lived here for nearly 40 years. Weems and her husband, Billy, both coached and taught for Old Dominion University before having five children and starting their own business. For decades, Weems has volunteered in Virginia Beach schools, on PTAs, in churches and for community organizations. She is very passionate about improving and expanding instruction and opportunities for students receiving special education and career and technical courses of study. She is the founder and president of Caitlyn's HALO, a non-profit focused on helping addicts and loved ones. The organization was founded after Weems tragically lost her daughter, Caitlyn, who became addicted to pain killers prescribed by doctors. Weems was instrumental in getting HB1532 passed, which mandates all schools in Virginia to offer opioid-focused education. For her advocacy, Weems was named the recipient of the 2017 FBI Director's Community Leadership Award as well as the Virginia Beach Human Rights Award. Currently Mrs. Weems is a full-time teacher as well as the youth director in her church. All of her children graduated from VBCPS, and several of her grandchildren are now attending Virginia Beach schools.

More information about the Virginia Beach School Board, including member bios, contact numbers and emails, can be found at www.vbschools.com.


Department of Communications and Community Engagement, [email protected]

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