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School Board Member Resigns

Chorpenning moves to Arizona.

Patrick Chorpenning (Mercer)’s last School Board meeting was on Nov. 26, the day board members approved a bid for building a high school in South Riding.

South Riding is in Chorpenning’s district and will be the site of a high school in 2005, something Chorpenning pushed the School Board to approve since last year’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) discussions began. The building project was delayed two times, so the South Riding resident repeatedly told the board it was South Riding’s turn for the next school, using the motto, “If you build it, they will come.”

“You have represented the citizens of your district. You fought for them,” said John Andrews (Broad Run). “You’re very passionate about a lot of your arguments. You did the best job possible for the people who elected you to office.”

Chorpenning, who was elected in 1999, will be moving to Phoenix, Ariz. to take on a new profession in government relations. He resigned last week from Westfield High School in Chantilly where he was a full-time government teacher and had taught for the past six years. His wife of 11 years Keri Jo Chorpenning, also a full-time teacher, resigned from seven years of teaching at Sterling Elementary School.

“I ran under the platform to put kids first,” said Chorpenning, whose last day with the School Board is Dec. 9, adding that he changed his platform to “Ellie first.” Ellie Kate is his infant daughter, born in June with a cleft lip and palate. He and Keri wanted Ellie to have one parent at home with her full-time and to be closer to their extended families.

“Those opportunities will allow my wife to stay home,” Chorpenning said.

WARREN GEURIN (Sterling) said Chorpenning’s decision “saddens” him. “He served with great integrity and staleworthiness,” he said. “Despite our disagreements, I’m proud to have supported you.”

Candyce Cassell (Sugarland Run) considers Chorpenning’s resignation “a loss.” “You’ve brought so much enthusiasm, passion and dedication to what you’ve done. … It’s a tremendous loss to Loudoun County,” she said.

“I’m grateful to have served, and I wanted to say, I’ll be back,” said Chorpenning, who is 33. He reflected on the School Board's achievements during his term, including building positive relations with the Board of Supervisors, increasing teacher salaries, improving student achievement through the faculty and staff, and keeping up with the county's growth. "We have been able to make sure there haven't been any major crises along the way," he said.

The School Board has 45 days after Dec. 9 to appoint someone to serve the remaining one year of Chorpenning’s term. At that time, the Circuit Court will make the appointment if the board does not find a replacement.