Born to parents who were teachers in Montclair, New Jersey, Carolyn Rye's dedication to public education runs deep. From kindergarten through her graduate coursework in business, the classroom was always a welcomed haven for learning fostered by many wonderful caring teachings who fostered in her a lifelong thirst for knowledge and learning. As a school board member, Carolyn seeks to continue to provide this experience to all students in Virginia Beach.
Carolyn's roots in Hampton Roads were firmly planted as a student at the College of William & Mary. It was there that she met her husband-to-be, Ken, who was a law student and coincidentally was from her home state. William & Mary was a perfect fit for Carolyn. She graduated as a government major with concentrations in history and math, and secondary teaching credentials in history and social studies.
Even after returning to New Jersey for a Fortune 500 corporate career and MBA degree (Silberman School of Business, Fairleigh Dickenson University), Virginia and William & Mary were never far from Carolyn's heat and mind. Fortunately, her husband's career as a Navy civilian attorney offered a Rye family move to Hampton Roads. Kenneth is now retired, and served parallel legal careers as Counsel, United States Navy, Military Sealift Command, and Judge Advocate, Unites States Army Reserve. The quality of schools was the primary reason they chose Virginia Beach as their home.
Carolyn's two children attended four public schools in Virginia Beach, including Kingston Elementary and Lynnhaven Middle, before each graduating from the Ocean Lakes High School Math & Science Academy. Her daughter Dana subsequently graduated from Middlebury College, and later enhanced her education credentials with dual Harvard Masters degrees in Business Administration and Public Policy Administration (John F. Kennedy School of Government). Her son Daniel is a graduate of the University of Virginia and its McIntire School of Business, with a second major in Foreign Affairs. Carolyn credits their experience in Virginia Beach City Public Schools as a significant factor in their later academic and corporate and health career successes. Their achievements continue to motivate her to ensure that every child has equal access to quality instruction and resources in Virginia Beach to prepare them for whatever future he or she may choose.
The concept of family-school partnership resonates deeply with Carolyn. Prior to her service as a member of the Virginia Beach School Board, Carolyn volunteered countless hours as a member and officer of parent-teacher associations, including serving two terms as a PTA president, over fifteen years. She's also served in multiple volunteer positions in service to the College of William & Mary over the last four decades, and with her Little Neck church parish St. Nicholas since her family relocation. As a national Fight Colorectal Cancer advocate, she and her daughter, an early age onset colon cancer survivor, collectively have lobbied Congress, engage in community-based education and awareness, and promote annual fund-raising.
Carolyn has served in many capacities during her two terms on School Board. A previous Audit Committee member, she helped craft protocols and procedures as inaugural Policy Review Committee Chair, and has taken on a similar role as Chair for the Board's Governance Committee established in 2019. Carolyn was appointed to serve on previous Ad Hoc committees for Achievable Dream Academy and Compass to 2025 Strategic Plan. Her commitment to professional development and effective school board governance has been recognized by the Virginia School Boards Association with multiple Awards of Recognition and Excellence. She was elected School Board Chair by her colleagues in 2020, and has continued in this role for three years.
Carolyn's professional background includes a blend of education, business and governance experience. Her Prudential career in corporate training and management consulting, her range of teaching assignments in area schools, and her service on governing boards have made for a solid foundation in her school board service and leadership. She applies these understandings to school board discussion, decision making, and meeting preparation and facilitation.