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Division

School Board Members

Ms. Amanda Burns

Amanda Burns Portrait

Ms. Amanda Burns

Joined the Board in January 2024

burnsa1@charlottesvilleschools.org

 

Reasons for Serving on the Board

Inspired in all she does by her family and her faith, Amanda believes that enduring change is powered by the simple promise to keep showing up, meeting every child where they are and providing for their needs with an open, generous heart. She believes that every child should not only leave Charlottesville City Schools with an exceptional education but the ability to also say that they were heard, that they were seen, and that they were cared for. 

Amanda looks forward to the opportunity to serve the community, work alongside Dr. Gurley and the current board members, educators and staff.

Personal Information

Amanda J “Mandy” Burns is a healthcare industry leader and community organizer driven to empower and uplift young men and women in the Charlottesville community and beyond. As a mother to two talented young men, and an accomplished corporate administrator of more than two decades, she combines her expertise in project management, implementation, and fiscal responsibility with her deep compassion in equal measure to affect lasting change. That loving spirit informs her work on numerous boards and committees related to her twin passions of healthcare and community service. 

Ms. Shymora Cooper

Shymora Cooper Portrait

Ms. Shymora Cooper

Joined the Board in January 2024

coopers1@charlottesvilleschools.org

 

Reasons for being on School Board:

I decided to run for the school board after careful consideration, as it has been something on my mind for quite some time. Encouragement from several community members played a significant role in my decision, and I approached the opportunity with a deep sense of responsibility. Throughout my life, I have been someone keen on identifying gaps and recognizing opportunities for growth, particularly concerning the development of our youth. Motivated by a desire for improvement, not only for my own children but also for the broader community where I have been involved in various capacities, I felt compelled to take action.

Being in a position to effect change, I aim to serve as an inspiration for community members who look up to me, encouraging them to take proactive steps as well. Recognizing that our youth are the foundation of the future, I believe that the most effective way to instigate true change is by investing in them—equipping them with the skills to excel, be better individuals, and aspire for more, both for themselves and the community they call home.

Assuming this role is an honor, and I eagerly anticipate engaging in challenging conversations and undertaking the necessary hard work to transform Charlottesville City Schools into a source of inspiration and a secure environment for our children.

Personal Information:

I am lifelong resident of Charlottesville, and I draw inspiration from my life experiences and career. Committed to educating, advocating, and supporting low-income families, I currently manage the Financial Opportunity Center & Housing HUB at Piedmont Housing Alliance.

Ms. Emily Dooley

Ms. Emily Dooley

Ms. Emily Dooley

Joined the Board in January 2022

dooleye1@charlottesvilleschools.org

Reasons for Being on the School Board:

During my time as an employee of public schools, I recognized a disconnect between those making decisions on behalf of schools and the professionals who were left to implement them. I believe that my experience in the classroom and in leading a building will help ground division decisions in the day-to-day realities of teaching and managing a building, while keeping a progressive eye to how we can make systemic change to benefit all members of our community. I believe deeply in the ideals of public education and the role our schools can play in positively impacting our community.

Personal Information:

I have called Charlottesville home since 2003 when I came to UVA as an undergraduate student studying in the School of Education. Upon graduation, I taught at Monticello High School in Albemarle County for six years before moving into administration. I served as a middle school assistant principal and then as an elementary school principal before switching to my current career in real estate.

Ms. Lisa Larson-Torres, Board Chair

Ms. Lisa Larson-Torres

Ms. Lisa Larson-Torres, Board Chair

Joined the Board in January 2018

torresl1@charlottesvilleschools.org

Reasons for Being on the School Board:

I am grateful to serve on the School Board bringing and offering my unique perspective and experiences as a parent who has worked throughout the years to advocate for my child who has unique needs.  I feel I have a great sense of how to collaborate and engage with all team members and I feel I can offer that voice as well as my experiences to our community and children who may need that extra support.

Personal Information:

I have been a resident of Charlottesville since 1999.  I am a physical therapist and provide home-care services to our community.  I have one daughter who has attended Charlottesville City Schools (Burnley Moran, Walker Upper Elementary, Buford Middle School and is now at CHS). I enjoy time with my family and daughter, good movies, outdoor sports, good music and reading in my spare time.

Mr. Chris Meyer

Chris Meyer Portrait

Mr. Chris Meyer

Joined the Board in January 2024

meyerc1@charlottesvilleschools.org

Reasons for being in the board

Chris Meyer believes a well functioning K-12 public school system is essential to a constructive society that provides a high-level of quality of life for all. He looks forward to bringing his executive leadership and prior board experiences to ensure CCS’s operations (and adjacent City-managed functions such as student bussing) are well functioning and delivering the opportunities all of the City’s families deserve.

Personal Information

Chris lives with his family in the Fry’s Spring neighborhood of Charlottesville, and his two children attend Jackson-Via Elementary and Walker Upper Elementary schools. His career has spanned from non-profit advocacy and executive leadership to most recently working as a renewable energy project developer in the private sector.

Mr. Dom Morse, Vice-Chair

Mr. Dom Morse, Board Vice-Chair

Mr. Dom Morse, Board Vice-Chair

Joined the Board in January 2022

morsed1@charlottesvilleschools.org

Reasons for Being on the School Board:

My vision is to build a school system that works for every student and to bring the community together to ensure student success. When I was a student, I experienced education trauma by being neglected, forced into overcrowded classrooms and not given a choice in my learning. Eventually, I dropped out of school. Today, I am a Charlottesville High School GED graduate and progressive educator working to ensure another generation of students don’t share my learning experience.

Personal Information:

I am the program director at Charlottesville Abundant Life Ministries and a technical education teacher for Albemarle County Public Schools. I was the Charlottesville Business Innovation Council (CBIC) 2020 Educator of the Year. 

Ms. Nicole Richardson

Nicole Richardson Portrait

Ms. Nicole Richardson

Joined the Board in January 2024

richarn1@charlottesvilleschools.org

Reasons for Serving on the School Board:

Through my experiences working with social service agencies, organizations, and nonprofits, I have seen the importance of our public schools. Having two children in Charlottesville City Schools has been another window into public education. As I considered ways to give back to the community, I realized that serving on the School Board would draw on my professional skills  working with social service agencies, organizations, and nonprofits, as well as my lived experiences as a mother of two children in CCS, a CHS graduate, and longtime member of the community. Additionally, I have always been inspired by my father, who moved from working in social services into serving as a high school special education teacher.

Personal Information:

Since 2022, I have worked at The Haven as a housing advocate and prevention administrator. Prior to that, I worked with Charlottesville organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the STARS group home, the Cherry Avenue Boys & Girls Club, and the Albemarle County Department of Social Services. I’m the mom of two boys who attend Charlottesville City Schools, and I graduated from CHS after my family moved here during my senior year.

 

Student School Board Representatives

23-24 School Board representatives Jayla Turner, Maggie Heaphy, and Quels Allen

The Charlottesville School Board has three student representatives. The 2023-2024 representatives are (left to right) Jayla Turner, Maggie Heaphy, and Quels Allen, all students at Charlottesville High School. Dr. Katina Otey, Chief Academic Officer, introduced the students to the School Board in September. The three students will each serve one trimester.

Committee Assignments

Each Board member is assigned to a number of school or community committees. Assignments are updated each year in January. Find the current committee assignments here: