A bill in the Virginia General Assembly could change the way business is conducted at the home of George Mason. After years of public miscontent over management of , legislation is pending in Richmond that would revamp its mission.
Last year, Gunston Hall Executive Director David Reese fired the longtime education coordinator, a move that prompted many to open their ears to warnings by departing staffers of questionable management. The Board of Regents recently wrote a letter to the Virginia Secretary of Education agreeing to hire an education coordinator.
Virginia State Senator Toddy Puller (D-36) is a member of the Gunston Hall Board of Advisors. Her bill, SB137, is currently awaiting a vote in the Education and Health Committee. It says that the Board of Regents (chosen by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America), Board of Visitors and Board of Advisors must work together to help manage Gunston Hall.
Specifically, the bill says:
- Any administrative head of Gunston Hall shall be appointed by the Governor to serve at his pleasure.
The three members of the Board of Visitors shall:
- Be appointed by the Governor
- Examine, and, by Nov. 15 each year, report to the Governor and the General Assembly on the Board of Regents and the manner in which Gunston Hall is managed and supervised.
- Meet at least four times per year at Gunston Hall.
- Appoint a Board of Advisors made of seven members, one of whom shall be the president of George Mason University or his designee and one of whom shall be a resident of Mason Neck.
The Board of Advisors shall report, annually and by July 1, to the Board of Visitors on the following:
- The performance of Gunston Hall in meeting its mission and purpose
- The adequacy of Gunston Hall administration in representing the Commonwealth's interests to educate the general public regarding the significance and influence of George Mason
- The provision of access, activities, and experiences for students in the Commonwealth and the coordination of such access, activities, and experiences with the Standards of Learning
- The availability and range of historically accurate, interactive, high-quality educational tours and experiences, seminars, and outreach initiatives offered to students, educators, researchers and the general public
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