Burnett up for reelection to School Board, No. 1 issue is safety for students and staff | #schoolsaftey

Crissy Burnett is finishing her first term as the Culpeper County School Board member for the West Fairfax District, the county’s largest and most diverse voting district, located on the western side of the Town of Culpeper, where the most growth has occurred the past 20 years.

The 55-year-old recent widow and parent of two grown children, who attended local schools, was first elected in 2019, a year after her husband’s death and at the start of a global pandemic. Burnett has been a substitute teacher in the school system the past decade.

Asked what she has worked to accomplish in her past four years on the school board, Burnett said she cannot take full credit for anything, deferring to the full school board, superintendent, staff, board of supervisors, community members, local businesses and families to make school happen.

“I have worked collaboratively to support our students and staff by offering them choices, resources, Chromebooks, meals, transportation, safety precautions, vaccination clinics (if they wanted) and additional staff, like nurses’ aides, during some of our most stressful and uncertain times dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Burnett said in response to a questionnaire from the Star-Exponent.

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After the pandemic, Culpeper County Public Schools offered summer school, free meals and conducted student and community surveys for needs assessments, she said.

“I have been involved in many seminars on combating mental health issues, meetings on learning loss recovery and making strategic plans to getting our students back on track.”

The West Fairfax school board member said she has been advocate for free lunches, StopFinder for parent use in tracking student buses, cameras in schools and buses and for school bus stop signs to track those illegally passing buses, a major safety issue.

“We have added many positions to better serve our students and their families and staff. We continually work on better communication between the schools, families and the community,” Burnett said. “(Work is ongoing) to update and perfect a crisis emergency plan and procedures with help from our local law enforcement agencies.”

The school board member said CCPS has made its teachers’ salaries competitive with many benefits, including 90% continuing education reimbursements. The school system won the Best Place to Work award in 2022.

“We strive to create a family-friendly atmosphere,” Burnett said. “Many of our staff work, volunteer and raise their families here in Culpeper. As well as, many families and businesses in Culpeper give back to the school system with their charitable gifts of service, time, talents and donations.”

She said she is proud to say that she has been in many of these positions: as a parent, volunteer and employee of CCPS.

“I believe that’s what gives me a unique perspective, a sense of gratitude and appreciation for what our school system and board tries to accomplish every day.”

Burnett said she is running for reelection because she is passionate about empowering county students with confidence, knowledge and the best resources to succeed in a healthy and safe environment.

She said she was married for 22 years to the best husband, father and friend a person could be blessed to have. He passed Oct. 5, 2018.

The couple raised their children, Cullen (26), a Homeland Security federal agent and Amelia Brooke, 24, a gallery curator and commissioned artist who graduated from Sweet Briar College.

Burnett lists Falls Church as her hometown and said she has called West Fairfax her home for nearly 20 years. In her first term on school board, she sat on the Finance Committee, Culpeper Youth Advisory Council and Student Health Advisory Board/Family Life Educational Council. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communication from Davis & Elkins College and is studying for her master’s in counseling at West Virginia Graduate College.

Burnett is running as an independent in her reelection bid for school board.

“I believe the lives and education of our children shouldn’t be governed by party lines, but by logical reasoning and caring perspectives,” she said. “For this reason, I am running independent and take no money or funding from any party.”

Eastern View High School graduate Matt Borja is also running as an independent, against Burnett. Asked why she is the better candidate, the incumbent relied on her background.

“For almost 20 years, I have worked to help cultivate a community in Culpeper. I utilize my many years of experience in management, customer service, team building and collaborating with others to achieve these goals.”

Her community involvement has included coaching CFA Cheerleading, Girls on the Run, Soccer and Destination Imagination, volunteering in classrooms, with extracurricular activities, field trips and sports teams. Burnett has been a substitute teacher in nine out of 10 local schools for the past 10 years.

“My two children attended five out of 10 schools in the county. This gives me the unique experience of seeing the school system as both an educator and a parent, allowing me to make informed decisions from that perspective,” she said.

Burnett said her top three issues if reelected would be:

  • Safety for students and staff;
  • Mental health resources and;
  • Empowering students with the best educational resources and opportunities to help them compete and succeed in an ever changing consumer needs based workplace.

Allison Brophy Champion: 540/825-4315

[email protected]

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