Current Position: Philanthropy Officer at nonprofit organization
Candidate: 2019 State Delegate
Source: Campaign page
Heather Cordasco served on the Williamsburg/James City County School Board from 2012-2015. At Heather’s suggestion, WJCC schools participated in the Northstar Project, an organization that helps schools streamline processes so that more money can go to the classroom. Heather is a strong supporter of teachers and supports competitive salaries and supplying the resources they need in the classroom.
As chair of the 21st Century Career Readiness Committee (formerly Career and Technology), she took a strong interest in career options for students. Heather encouraged the Association for Manufacturing Excellence to adopt the Williamsburg/James City County school system; as a result, students have the opportunity to explore careers in advanced manufacturing during Manufacturing Day. This led to closer relationships with county industries, and to local jobs for WJCC students. She currently sits on the New Horizons Foundation Board, a board that helps students who receive technical training to have funds to pay for trade job expenses, such as certifications and tools. The New Horizons Foundation Board is also a partner in “The Good Life” program that hires students with skills into great jobs right after their high school graduation.
Heather also served on the Special Education Advisory Committee, and the New Horizons Board. She was appointed to the Regional Issues Committee for the Historic Triangle in 2012. Heather has been a member of the Education Committee of the Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce and was recently named the chair of that committee. She has served as the President of Network Peninsula, as a member of the local Red Cross board, and is the former president of the Kingsmill Women’s Social Club. She is currently the chair of the Grove Community Garden.
Heather is also a graduate of LEAD Virginia and a recent graduate of the Lead Historic Triangle Class that is offered through the Greater Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce. She is a 2011 graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy and a 2009 Graduate of the James City County Citizens Academy. Heather has served on the Legislative Positions Committee for the Virginia School Boards Association and has been presented with the Award of Excellence from the VSBA twice. She has also advocated for local school systems at the National Virginia School Boards Association Advocacy Conference on Capitol Hill. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Nyack College in New York. She currently works at a nonprofit organization as a Philanthropy Officer, and as a group fitness instructor and personal trainer who holds multiple certifications with a specialty in older adult fitness. She taught a variety of adult fitness classes in James City County. Heather has been married to her husband Carlo for 31 years and has three children, all graduates of James City County Schools. This December, Heather became a grandmother!
Residents of the Peninsula since 1993, the Cordasco family settled in James City County in 2004. Heather chaired the meal committee for the Jamestown High football team for the 2007 and 2008 seasons, feeding 90 boys every week. The Cordasco family worships at Foundations Church in Williamsburg.
Source: Campaign page
Jobs and the Economy
Improving our local economy and creating good paying jobs for peninsula families is important to Heather. Our tourist industry is vital to our local economy and we must do everything we can to continue to make the peninsula an attractive destination for visitors. Making investments that will diversify our economy will go a long way in expanding opportunities at our ports and attracting good paying manufacturing jobs. Keeping taxes low and reducing burdensome regulations help small businesses compete and local families make ends meet. Heather will oppose efforts to raise taxes and demand that our state government lives within its means.
A well-trained work force is a magnet for employers and as a Williamsburg/James City School Board member, Heather helped expand opportunities for students to prepare for careers in cutting edge high-tech manufacturing and the trades. If elected to represent the 93rd district in the General Assembly, Heather will make expanding our local economy a top priority.
A passionate advocate for our children’s education, Heather’s background serving our public schools gives her a unique perspective into what our local students, teachers and schools need. Heather’s three children have all graduated from our public school system. She has served on the Williamsburg/James City County School Board, the Special Education Advisory Committee, the New Horizons board and Chaired the 21st Century Career Readiness Committee. She currently sits on the New Horizon’s Foundation board to raise scholarship money for tools and certifications for students who have chosen the trades, manufacturing or construction as a career.
While on the WJCC School Board, she helped create potential employment opportunities for our students by initiating Manufacturing Day. WJCC school system was the first in North American to be adopted by the Association for Manufacturer’s Excellence and to hold Manufacturing Day; a day for students, teachers and parents to explore careers in manufacturing. As a result of these decisions, organic relationships have developed with our local employers.
Heather’s focus will be to ensure that our students have the tools to compete in tomorrow’s global economy while demanding excellence and accountability from every school. Heather believes that the best investment a school system can make is not in a new program or building but in quality teachers to lead our classrooms. While on the school board she also helped implement the Northstar project, that helps schools save money on process so that more money can be put in the classroom. Heather believes that the teacher is the most important asset and has supported pay raises.
We have a lot of terrific schools in the 93rd district but unfortunately, we also have some schools that are underperforming. Heather believes that we need to find ways to get more resources into the classroom but also provide parents of children in failing schools with options to provide their kids the best education possible. Every child should have access to a quality education, regardless of economic or geographic restraints or status.
Veterans and Military
Almost ten percent of Virginia residents are active duty military or veterans giving our commonwealth one of the highest concentrations of military residents in the nation. Heather would like to propose legislation of across-the-board credentialing of military spouses or their family members in their chosen profession. Other states have adopted this type of legislation and it is beneficial not only to the family members of our military, but also to our businesses and schools who gain skilled, experienced employees.
Because military families are frequently moving state to state, it’s in many cases practically impossible for a family member to get credentialed or licensed to move their business with them from state to state. By the time they receive their credential or license to do business, they are off moving to another state. As a result, many military family members give up on their businesses entirely. Heather’s legislation would permit military family members from being able to bring their credentials or licenses to Virginia. The Commonwealth of Virginia would recognize these out-of-state credentials as valid within the Commonwealth. Heather would also like to work on efforts to incentivize our retirees to stay here and reduce the financial burden on them.
Heather understands that for far too long our traffic issues on the Peninsula have not been addressed properly. Working to bring solutions to local traffic congestion is a high priority of Heather’s. Peninsula residents would much rather be spending time at home with their families instead of being stuck in traffic.
Heather is committed to building a broad coalition of local stakeholders and elected officials in ensuring the Peninsula gets its fair share of dollars to maintain the infrastructure in the area and see the completion of a third crossing. The completion of this construction is vital in helping reduce the bottle necking that is occurring and keeping residents from getting where they need to go. Traffic is a deterrent for new businesses to relocate into the area and for existing businesses to expand. Heather will also encourage businesses to offer the option of working remotely.