Elizabeth Hutchins is seeking her fifth term as Stevensburg representative on the Culpeper County School Board.
She is opposed by Marshall Keene, a sergeant in the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office.
Hutchins said that her 16 years of serving the community has given her insight into what the Culpeper education community needs and feels she still has much to accomplish if elected to a fifth term.
“I still believe I have a lot of experience and knowledge to give,” she said, pointing out she is the the longest tenured member of the school board. “Education has always been a passion for me.”
It’s been a family affair as well, as most of her immediate family are educators. She taught full time for 10 years at Culpeper Middle School and was a substitute for 10 more. Her husband Ron worked as an educator for 43 years. Her background in education has helped her understand the needs of teachers in the classroom and be able to relay that to the public.
One of her latest passions is expressing the need the need for Career and Technical Education.
“We’ve been talking with the Board of Supervisors in our joint committee about CTE opportunities and the potential for a new CTE building,” Hutchins said, pointing out that the possibility is still a ways down the road. “I think it’s important to discuss that college might not be for everyone and we have to provide the students with the skills they need to go into the workforce.”
Hutchins also talked about the state possibly restructuring high school to make it more like college, having students take basic classes in the first two years and then having more in depth classes in the final two years of high school.
“We want to be careful with this, the kids are still young,” she said.
Hutchins discussed the growth in the county, pointing out that the need for new schools aren’t there at the moment but pointed to older schools such as CMS and Sycamore Park as needing renovations.
“CMS was built as an ‘open school’ and those areas are closed now,” she said. “That (renovation) could be more costly since the building would have to be reconfigured.”
A long time advocate for the arts, Hutchins said that Culpeper County’s programs are not under threat of being cut like other school districts. The emphasis on the arts and programs such as the Gravity Challenge with the Piedmont Area Soap Box Derby and E-Squared with Career Partners are some of the positive impacts the community has had on the district.
“I think that’s critical, the the community has to be part of education,” she said. “None of this can happen without community support and involvement.”
Security is also important to her, considering some of the tragedies that have happened throughout the country at schools. She points to the school district adding vestibules, especially at CMS, as evidence of being proactive.
“That entry way at CMS terrified me,” Hutchins said. “It took some prodding to get done, but having that has increased safety.”
Hutchins, 61, hopes that her constituents will look at her record and see her passion for education.
“Education is what I was directed to,” she said. “This is where my talents have led me.”