Tibbens running for Ward 4 seat on Berryville City Council | Winchester Star

BERRYVILLE — A member of the Berryville planning commission is running unopposed for the Ward 4 city council seat in the Nov. 8 election.

Ryan Tibbens was certified as the only official nominee after filing the required paperwork, according to Clarke County Registrar General/Chief Electoral Officer Barbara Bosserman.

June 21 was the filing deadline for local offices.

Tibbens, of Battlefield Estates, is an English teacher and has worked in Loudoun County Public Schools since 2006.

He is also an entrepreneur. Since 2016, he has run Tibbens Educational Services and Tutoring (TEST), which coaches students in reading/writing, critical thinking, and public speaking to help them gain admission to college, according to his resume.

A graduate of James Madison University, Tibbens holds a bachelor’s degree in English, with secondary education and anthropology as minors, and a master’s degree in teaching with an emphasis on English and secondary education.

He served two years on the Berryville Zoning Appeals Board before being appointed to the planning commission in 2020.

Tibbens said current Ward 4 councilwoman Kara Rodriguez approached him to run for his seat after deciding not to file for a second four-year term. (See related story.)

He made the decision out of lack of desire to help Berryville be the best place it could be, he said.

“I genuinely care about the city,” Tibbens said. “You should take advantage of opportunities…to help (your community) whenever you can.”

He swore he didn’t have any specific issue he was trying to advance somehow.

Although he was involved in city government for four years, “I have a lot to learn” about it, he said.

Asked to comment on several questions of his own, Tibbens said he recognizes that Berryville will grow somewhat in the future.

What it takes, he said, is “slow, smartly measured growth” for the city and county of Clarke to remain a small rural community amidst the booming areas of Virginia. North and North Shenandoah Valley.

“I don’t think we necessarily need a lot of new growth in town,” he continued, referring to a new industry. Instead, he said he would like to see existing local businesses grow and prosper.

Additionally, Tibbens said he wants vacant storefronts in downtown Berryville to be filled, as well as more recreational offerings, especially for children.

Originally from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Tibbens and his wife, Ashley, have lived in Berryville for a decade. They previously lived in Washington, DC, a suburb of Loudoun and Fairfax counties.

They have three young children, all of whom are enrolled — or eventually will be — in Clarke County public schools, he said.

Although a small town, Berryville is “big enough to have a diversity of opinion (among residents) and activity,” Tibbens said. Yet it remains “a close community” where people know and care about each other, he observed.

That’s what makes it special, he says.

Tibbens has a website, www.ryantibbens.com, where voters can learn more about him.

Two more council seats are up for grabs Nov. 8. Only incumbents are vying for them.

Diane Harrison, in her first term, is running for the Ward 2 seat. Recorder Erecka Gibson is running for vice mayor, but that’s essentially the same position she holds now.

A charter change was approved by the General Assembly, allowing Berryville to have a vice-mayor instead of a recorder. Either is the second-highest elected official in a town or city, behind the mayor. However, most communities, under modern local government practices, now refer to the office as the vice-mayor.

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