A trio of Amherst County residents has qualified to run for a pair of seats up for grabs on the county’s school board.
Ginger Burg and Charlotte Hudson Fluharty are vying for an at-large seat while Christopher Terry is seeking the District 3 seat in the Nov. 5 election, which marks the second cycle of races for school district seats since a November 2016 referendum transitioned the board to an elected body. Prior to that, the board of supervisors appointed school board members.
Burg, who moved to Amherst County from New York in 2015 and is vice chair of the Amherst County Republican Committee, said she was deeply involved in schools as a mother of six. Coming from a community similar to Amherst where the biggest taxpayers were farmers, she said her youngest daughter, who has faced medical issues, excelled in Amherst County, a vast improvement from her previous environment.
“I love the schools here. They are so much better than they were in New York,” Burg said. “My daughter is now on honor roll and going into advanced placement [courses] and it’s all because of Amherst schools. We’ve been totally blessed by Amherst.”
Fluharty, a former teacher, said she has worked in public education for more than 25 years and taught all ages from preschool through college. When she stopped teaching a few years ago and began working as a local real estate agent, she said she still tutored in Amherst and Nelson counties. She previously worked at Amherst Elementary School and also has been employed at Temperance Elementary.
“I’ve always felt the school board should have more representation by teachers or educators and it’s usually not the case,” Fluharty said. “I want to be a voice and representation for teachers and students and parents as well.”
Terry, of Elon, graduated from Amherst County High School in 1986 and works as a manager for BWX Technologies. He has an older daughter who graduated from ACHS, a son who just finished there and a daughter who is a rising junior and his wife is employed at Elon Elementary School.
Craig Terwilliger, the current District 3 member, said he is not running for reelection. Appointed in 2016, he feels he is leaving at a time when the division’s leadership roles are in good hands.
“I think we made a lot of progress,” he said. “We’re in a good position as a school system ... I think we’re on the right path.”
Terry said he’s always been a supporter of the school division.
“I don’t have an agenda. I just want to do what’s best for the schools and help the kids the best I can,” Terry said of why he’s running.
Burg and Fluharty also are parents of students in Amherst County Public Schools: Burg’s youngest daughter attends Monelison Middle and she has two enrolled in the high school while Fluharty is mother of a high school student and middle schooler.
Fluharty, an Amherst native and graduate of ACHS, attended Sweet Briar College. She said she feels early literacy and intervention for important areas to focus on.
“I noticed some of our children are not coming into school with preschool experience,” she said.
She said if elected she wants to make sure the schools are on top of the issue of bullying and vocational programs are strong in ensuring students are prepared for the workforce.
Burg said she wants to ensure students are equipped to go into career fields such as welding or auto mechanics through internships. She also said she is interested in bringing a junior ROTC program into the school system.
She strives to become a conservative voice on the board.
“I’m very proud of my beliefs and what I stand for,” Burg said. “Everyone should give back to their community. It’s what makes community better.”
Though she said she is a “Yankee not by choice,” she describes herself as an Amherst girl at heart.
Terry described himself as a people person who strives to serve as an advocate for the school system.
“I care about the county, I care about making the county better,” Terry said. “The best way to help our county is to do what needs to be done to help our schools.”
In budgeting, Burg said she likes the idea of more business partnerships, adding: “It’s not always pulling money out of the taxpayers.”
Fluharty described herself as a levelheaded problem-solver, a good listener and approachable. She added she is pleased the Amherst County School Board passed a 5% pay raise for educators to take effect July 1 and described it as overdue for educators who are deserving of it.
“That’s one way to remain competitive,” with other divisions, she said.
All three candidates spoke of the school system’s vital role in making Amherst County a place where businesses will want to locate and families want to live.
“The community is built on being able to retain our kids,” Terry said. “If we can educate the kids and get them good-paying jobs, they will stick around and be supporters of the county. We’ve got to do what we can to keep them here. We have great kids in our county … these are kids we want to keep around.”