Former teacher, UVa Law grad enters county School Board race for Rio District
Credit: Ryan Kelly, The Daily Progress
Josh Mandell | Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 8 p.m.
Katrina Callsen, a former Teach for America corps member and a 2014 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, on Wednesday announced her candidacy for the Rio District seat on the Albemarle County School Board.
Callsen, 31, will face Agnor-Hurt Elementary literacy instructor Mary McIntyre in the November election.
Pam Moynihan, the incumbent Rio District representative on the board, has said that she will not seek a fifth term.
“I have decided to run for School Board because I am a strong believer in educational opportunity,” Callsen said in her campaign announcement at Pen Park. “We have wonderful, committed, compassionate educators and administrators [in Albemarle County].”
“We have innovative and inspiring learning spaces and programs. Yet our schools and our students are performing at vastly different levels across a variety of metrics,” she said.
“The disparity that students are facing is a call to action. I want to answer that call.”
In her announcement, the 2008 Yale graduate said she would work to reduce overcrowding in schools in Albemarle’s urban ring and to find long-term districting solutions for the division.
She also said she wants to ensure that all schools have access to and are offered equal resources.
Callsen said both of her parents dropped out of high school as teenagers and that she qualified for free meals at school during her childhood in Virginia.
“School was a place of possibility for me,” she said. “It was where I could dream about reaching my potential.”
As an inaugural member of Teach for America’s Boston Corps, she taught seventh-grade math for two years at a KIPP Academy charter school in Lynn, Massachusetts.
“I was fortunate to be included in a group of individuals [at Teach for America] that was dedicated to educational quality and committed to being on the forefront of educational innovation,” she said.
Callsen earned a Massachusetts teaching license in middle school math and science from Boston University and completed some coursework there for a master’s degree in education.
After moving to Albemarle in 2011 to attend UVa’s law school, she participated in the school’s Child Advocacy Clinic, which offers legal representation to low-income children in Virginia.
The mother of two lives in the Agnor-Hurt Elementary district with her husband and her 3- and 1-year-old sons. Her husband, Gilman, is co-founder and CEO of Rho AI, a predictive analytics startup that computes real-time strategy for NASCAR drivers.
Callsen has submitted a certificate of candidate qualification to the county registrar’s office. Additional paperwork required for her to be on the general election ballot, including a statement of economic interest and 125 petition signatures, is due June 13.
Two other Albemarle School Board seats will be on the ballot in November.
Incumbent Graham Paige is seeking re-election to the Samuel Miller District seat. Julian Waters, currently a senior at Western Albemarle High School, is challenging Paige.
Incumbent Kate Acuff is seeking a second term to represent the Jack Jouett District. No newcomers have announced plans to run for Acuff’s seat.
All candidates for school boards in Virginia run without party affiliation.
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