Lisa Larson-Torres, a home-care physical therapist for Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, on Wednesday announced her candidacy for the Charlottesville School Board.
“I come to you, the Charlottesville community, with a promise: to be a strong advocate, to be attentive, and to be accountable to all students, families and the schools,” Larson-Torres said.
Larson-Torres, 51, earned her bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from California State University, Long Beach. She moved to Charlottesville in 1999.
“I have seen positive and exciting changes throughout the years within the city schools,” Larson-Torres said.
“As a longtime resident of Charlottesville … I have embraced the opportunity to be an active advocate and collaborator with Charlottesville School Board members, administration, teachers and families.”
Larson-Torres’ daughter, Esther, attends Charlottesville High School and receives special education services for dyslexia.
“My time spent working with teachers to promote awareness about dyslexia has led to my current passion for educational issues in our community,” Larson-Torres said.
As a member of Charlottesville’s Special Education Advisory Committee, Larson-Torres lobbied successfully for an American Sign Language course to be added to the CHS curriculum.
Larson-Torres’ announcement also was delivered in American Sign Language by interpreter Rene DeVito.
In an interview, Larson-Torres said she would focus on literacy education and efforts to improve students’ fitness, nutrition and mental health.
Current School Board Chairman Juandiego Wade introduced Larson-Torres before her announcement, which took place in front of City Hall.
“I know that Larson-Torres is passionate about public education,” Wade said. “She knows how to get things done.”
Larson-Torres submitted her declaration of candidacy, certificate of candidate qualification, statement of economic interests and petition signatures Wednesday morning. She is the first newcomer in the race for three at-large seats on the Charlottesville School Board this year.
Wade and Leah Puryear are running for fourth terms on the School Board. Ned Michie announced in February that he would not seek another term, leaving his seat open for a new member.
The deadline for candidates to qualify for the November general election ballot is June 13.