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Waynesboro School Board: Maneval wants safe schools, happy teachers – The News Leader

WAYNESBORO — It was in early 2006 and Kathe Maneval was at a meeting at Westwood Hills Elementary School. That’s when it was first suggested by some in attendance that she run for an open seat on the school board.
She rejected the idea at first, but shortly thereafter she was at a Cub Scout event with her children and a few other people told her the same thing, she should run. Maneval started thinking about the possibility more seriously and realized it actually made a lot of sense.
She has a master’s in education from The University of Pennsylvania and a preliminary certification in elementary guidance from Pennsylvania. She also had been a certified public accountant in Delaware. She thought the school board was a perfect opportunity to combine her background in education and business, so she filed as a candidate and won an unopposed election.
Sixteen years later, she is still representing Waynesboro’s Ward D on the school board. Currently the board’s vice-chair, Maneval is running for a fifth term. This will only be the second time in five elections that Maneval has an opponent. She narrowly won the seat in a contested 2010 election, her second run at office.
The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8 and the first day of in-person early voting is Friday, Sept. 23. The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 17.
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Born in Newark, Deleware, she has lived in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania before relocating to Waynesboro in 2000. She and her husband, Tom, have four children, all of whom attended Waynesboro Public Schools.
Maneval got her bachelor’s from Pennsylvania’s Swarthmore College before earning the master’s. She specialized in psychological services for the master’s, so that is a topic that is frequently on her mind when discussing schools.
One of Maneval’s campaign issues is addressing school safety, but not just the physical part. Reducing the number of doors at the high school, making sure the doors stay locked, adding school resource officers — all of that is important to her. There’s another piece to safety, though. Maneval said addressing the mental health of students is just as important as making sure other safety measures are in place.
“We’ve added school psychologists, we’ve added school counselors, social workers,” Maneval said. “Trying to be proactive to make sure that the students’ mental health needs are being addressed. To try and reduce some of the stress and anxiety that we’ve seen there.”
Maneval pointed to a smartphone app that the school system put in place in 2018. It’s called STOPit and it allows students, as well as teachers and parents, to anonymously report unsafe situations ranging from bullying to urges to self-harm.
“It’s something that gets responded to very quickly,” she said. “And they’ve had a lot of success with that as well.”
When she was first on the board there was talk about what the future of schools would look like. She clearly remembers some discussion around virtual learning and if that would be a trend down the road. She believes the pandemic answered that question, at least for the near future.
“Computers aren’t going to be the teachers of the future,” she said. “We need the teachers, we need the students in the classrooms. I mean, there’s so much learning that goes on that’s just not the academic part.”
Retaining teachers is an issue throughout the country, not just in Waynesboro. Attracting new teachers has also been a problem for some divisions. A spokesperson for Waynesboro Public Schools told The News Leader recently that there were only two vacant positions and all but two of the filled positions are full-time teachers.
That’s a success in Maneval’s eyes. To her that shows the school division is on the right track.
“There’s a lot of good stuff happening in Waynesboro, and it’s stable,” she said. “I’ve heard that from the administration. I’ve heard that from the teachers and it’s speaking to the school board and the stability that we were provided during the pandemic.”
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Waynesboro schools began the 2020 school year all virtual as officials worked to understand the best way to educate children during COVID. Students who wanted to began slowly returning to a hybrid plan of instruction that offered both in-person and virtual learning late in the first semester. By the start of the 2021 school year, Waynesboro was back to offering fully in-person instruction.
Maneval realizes not everyone, including parents and teachers, endorsed that plan, but she feels the school board did the best it could to hear all the concerns and support the school division’s plan. She said the school board was also focused on implementing a timetable that worked best for teachers who were having to totally change the way they taught from one semester to the next.
“The administration put together a plan for how we’re going to deal with COVID and we stuck to that plan,” Maneval said. “It wasn’t necessarily the right plan, because I don’t think there were any right answers to be had. But we had the administration’s backs, and that message, apparently, was pretty powerful.”
Maneval is also proud of the 7.5% average raise for staff this year. She said the city and state, as well as stimulus money from the pandemic, have all helped, but she knows the school division and school board have worked hard to improve pay and infrastructure during a difficult past few years.
“Everything on our capital improvement plan is going to be completed with the exception of phase two of high school,” she said. “And we haven’t had to go to ask the city for any of that money.”
She pointed toward recent renovations at Berkeley Glenn Elementary and upcoming renovations to other schools as a success.
With Waynesboro Schools already a few weeks into the school year, and as Maneval eyes re-election, she said the biggest focus of the board needs to be on getting students caught up from learning loss, and getting them into a better social emotional place.
She believes her experience — Maneval is the longest-serving member of the current school board — is important for Waynesboro schools. She remembers the guidance she received from former member Doug Norcross when she was elected, and she believes she can provide that guidance now.
“I think I have a lot to offer in that respect,” she said. “I think it’s very important right now to have that stability and to move forward.
Patrick Hite is The News Leader’s education and sports reporter. Story ideas and tips always welcome. Contact Patrick (he/him/his) at and follow him on Twitter @Patrick_Hite. Subscribe to us at


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