Nelson County native Debbie Harvey has filed to run for the open Nelson County School Board East District representative seat in the November General Election.
Harvey, her two children and husband all graduated from the county’s school system. She currently is employed as a director with SRC Inc., a research and development company in Charlottesville, but lives about four miles outside Lovingston. “Education in my family has always been really important,” Harvey said.
She graduated from Sweet Briar College with a degree in mathematical physics and then went on to obtain master’s degrees in electrical engineering and management information systems from Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Virginia, respectively.
After a stint living in Northern Virginia, Harvey moved back to Nelson County in 1987. From 2003 to June 2013, Harvey served on the Piedmont Virginia Community College Board as the representative from Nelson County. She also has served as the president of the Nelson Middle School Parent-Teacher Association, as a Girl Scout leader and a member of the Gifted Advisory Board for the school system.
Harvey said she has expanded her thinking on education and no longer believes everyone needs to go to college.
Instead, she said, “I think we need to focus on when students graduate from high school, wherever their interests and
aptitudes take them, [that] they’re well prepared to compete in the real world,” whether that be vocational or trade school, the military or entering the work force.
The school system ought to be designed to provide students with the best skills and capabilities to be prepared for whatever their post-high school plans might be.
Harvey said she believes the Nelson County schools currently are doing a pretty good job of working toward that goal, but that some students fall through the cracks.
“I think we need to be thinking of ways to always be improving,” she said.
Harvey said she is interested in hearing from parents, students, teachers and administration about their concerns. One of her primary goals if elected would be to maximize the effectiveness of the funds put into the school system.
“We want to make sure we get the most we can out of the dollars we put into the school system,” Harvey said.
Amy Snapp, who has said she will not be running for re-election, currently holds the East District seat on the Nelson County School Board.
Mary Cunningham, the incumbent for the North District seat, also has filed for re-election for that position and been confirmed as a candidate.
Cunningham has lived in Nelson County since 1997, and she is completing her first term on the board.
At-large, or independent, candidates for the Nelson County Board of Supervisors and candidates for the school board had until June 11 — the day of the Democratic primary election — to file to run for election.