With just more than two months until Election Day, a newcomer has announced he’s hoping for a seat on the Campbell County School Board as a write-in candidate.
Phillip Stevens, pastor of Winfall Baptist Church in Gladys, announced his write-in candidacy for the Rustburg seat on the school board this week.
Three seats on the Campbell County School Board are up for election this November. Two newcomers are vying for the Timberlake District seat, and incumbents in the Rustburg and Brookneal districts are seeking reelection.
The Rustburg seat currently is held by board chair David Phillips, who already officially filed to run for his second term on the board.
Stevens said he has lived in the area for about 10 years and has been pastor at his church for half that time. He has four children: one Rustburg High School graduate, two currently attending Rustburg High School and a first grader at Liberty Christian Academy.
He also works as an adjunct professor at Liberty University, and his church is in discussion about starting a private Christian school.
If elected to the school board, Stevens said he wants to focus on hearing and addressing the concerns of parents in the school division. Board meetings have been better attended in recent months with parents and community members sharing their thoughts on critical race theory, mask mandates and other issues, and Stevens said he feels the board isn’t listening to those concerns.
“When it’s all said and done and the parents have said their piece, the school board will then read a pre-typed letter because, essentially, they’ve already made their decision before they heard one parent,” he said.
Stevens said he is against critical race theory and the VDOE’s model policies for the treatment of transgender students, which have garnered much public outcry in recent months.
At a recent board meeting, the Campbell County School Board attested critical race theory is not taught in its schools and its current nondiscrimination policies are in compliance with state law.
Stevens said he saw the effects of the pandemic on his kids’ academics and social lives, so he wants to advocate for more mental health resources among students and hopes the division remains open for in-person learning this school year to prevent more learning loss among students.
If elected, Stevens said he would be dedicated to meeting with teachers to hear their concerns as well.
“I would like to definitely hear more encouraging them, helping them and listening to them,” Stevens said. “The teachers I talk to don’t seem to get a whole lot of support and they don’t feel heard.”
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2.