Sanford Williams 2017

Sanford S. Williams

Manassas School Board Chair Sanford Williams announced Tuesday night that he’d be leaving the board on Oct. 1, having decided to move with his wife to California to be closer to his daughters.

Williams is the second significant departure from the board in a year, following Scott Albrecht, who stepped down last year after 20 years. Later this year, if Board Member Tim Demeria wins his race for Manassas Commissioner of Revenue, he’ll leave the board without its three longest-serving members as of 2020.

The board will decide who will replace Williams as chair at its next meeting. Suzanne Seaberg, the vice chair, has served on the board since 2018.

“We love Manassas. My girls, our daughters, are in California,” Williams said of his decision. “Family is everything.”

At the board’s biweekly meeting Tuesday, members and division staff thanked Williams, who’s served on the board since 2010, for his leadership and calming demeanor. They also thanked his wife, local pediatrician Dr. Anastasia Williams for her work in the community.

Manassas schools Superintendent Kevin Newman recalled a long conversation the two had after Williams told him he’d been selected as the school division’s next superintendent in 2018.

“From that moment I knew I was dealing with someone that is of high quality that cares about kids. I wish I had some of your qualities in how calm you are regardless of the situation,” Newman told Williams at the board meeting. “The way you’ve mentored me the last three years, I can never thank you enough. … I know I want you in Manassas, but you need to be in California.”

(15) comments

Janet Smith

Then there are the Manassas Dem Party VIPs who want all of Northern VA to be an expensive in-filled mess like Arlington County.

Allen Muchnick

Your bitter and nonsensical comments are unbecoming. School boards do not authorize development projects.

Janet Smith

Arlington? Arlington is the Lexus Liberal model for paving over Northern Virginia. Speaking of ideological agendas, as reported by another local news outlet Arlington Government is in crisis because so many police department and human services employees are quitting and retiring.

Allen Muchnick

So you're posting these irrelevant comments here because the Sun Gazette no longer allows readers to post comments on its content?

Donald Quella

Yup, they inflict their vibrant vision on us and are outta here one way or another. Same for the pols who can't provide enough gimmes to out-of-state REITS for suburban renewal. We get stuck paying the costs of their ideological agendas and never-ending tax increases as a consequence of development-for-the-sake-of-development.

Janet Smith

Worst are the fire-aim-ready "planners" (who work for local governments, non-profits, and for-profits) who for the past 18 months have been working from their homes in Nowheresville cramming as many people into as little space as possible, never mind the future costs and consequences. But don't believe me, read Inside Nova for monthly features about their latest "suburban renewal" projects.

Allen Muchnick

How is this comment even remotely related to the pending retirement of a long-serving school board member and current school board chair in Manassas?

Janet Smith

It gets worse. Over the past 18 months the CV pandemic led to any number of local government employees, who are not residents of the jurisdiction where they're employed, working from home, or their vacation home, and being completely divorced from the effects of their projects and programs.

Allen Muchnick

Yes, your irrelevant and uninformed comments have gotten worse. Mr. Williams is an elected official, not a local government employee; he has NOT been residing outside of Manassas; and he has been continuously and actively involved in improving educational opportunities for Manassas City Public School children

Ken Koyle

I have known Sanford Williams for years. I had two kids grow up in Manassas and graduate from Osborn High School, my wife was a faculty member at three different MCPS schools, and my daughter teaches in Manassas now. I can't imagine a better leader for the school board, nor a better example for our kids, than Sanford. Yes, MCPS has struggled with some of the standard success measures, but considering that they are perpetually underfunded and serving a significantly disadvantaged population, they have done remarkably well. One of my OHS graduates is a few months away from completing his doctoral degree, and another was accepted to the most competitive degree program at Virginia Tech and is now serving as an Army officer. That kind of success is far more important than average SOL scores, and is indicative of a well-led educational system that genuinely cares for its students. Congratulations on a very successful tenure with MCPS, Sanford. Thanks for all you have done for us. We will miss you.

David Walters

The COM school system has been a failure for decades. Consistently ranks as one the worst in Va. Giving anyone on this board accolades is no deserved. Academia is consumed with race and on fully display in the schools.

Janet Smith

Then there are the facilitators for one-party government forever who trash anyone who doesn't go along with the program - their program.

Allen Muchnick

Then there are there the unethical Inside NoVA commenters, such as "Janet Smith" and "Donald Quella" who post reader comments under multiple aliases.

Janet Smith

Completely typical - Impose their personal and collective political agendas on the sheeple and their kids for years to decades then split for retirement in Upscale Hills or Elitist Beach.

Allen Muchnick

Completely typical--as an Arlington resident with no direct knowledge of either Mr. Williams or Manassas City Public Schools, you impose your personal political agenda here by posting uninformed comments.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.