Virginia House of Delegates District 94
2017 Race Update: Shelly’s race ended in a tie; she lost the deciding coin flip
Shelly Simonds is an educator and a community leader in Newport News. A former teacher, Shelly is a member of the Newport News School Board with a passion for excellence in education.
All her life, she has been passionate about learning and using her education to help others. In college, she studied in Spain and Chile, where she became fluent in Spanish and discovered her love of writing and journalism. Her passion led her to pursue a Masters in Communications from Stanford University, then to a job in journalism. She moved to Newport News in 2000 with her husband Paul, a NASA engineer. They decided Newport News was the perfect place to raise their two daughters, Georgia and Tessa. She became a Spanish teacher at their school, Hilton Elementary, and found her second passion: teaching. She had never had a workplace where she felt like she was part of a team with such purpose. They spent their lunch breaks talking about their students and how they could encourage them.
In 2012, Shelly was elected to the School Board on a platform of support for teachers and workforce development. As a School Board member, she still feels like she’s on the teacher’s team, fighting for resources for her colleagues, and understanding, first-hand, the challenges and joys of their important work in the community.
Shelly has been a vocal advocate for education through the Virginia School Board Association and helped write the final report for the Challenged Schools Taskforce in 2015. This report helped secure funding for extended learning programs in the Commonwealth. She has also been a longtime environmental activist. She got her start in Virginia politics as a member of the Legislative Contact Team with the League of Conservation Voters.
As a mother, an educator, an activist, and an entrepreneur, Shelly knows she can hit the ground running to bring positive change to her community as a member of the General Assembly.