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Paige beats back write-in challenge in Albemarle County School Board race

Graham Paige will represent the Samuel Miller district on the Albemarle County School Board for another two years after beating back a write-in challenge from Randy Zackrisson.

Paige received 71% of the 5,642 votes cast, according to unofficial results posted online Tuesday night. About 1,618 write-in votes were cast, though election officials didn’t plan to count those votes immediately.

Absentee ballots will be accepted until 12 p.m. Nov. 5. Final results will be certified Nov. 15.

Paige’s priorities for another term include the implementation of the anti-racism policy that was adopted in 2019 in order to create a school system that’s inviting to all students. He also wants to focus on addressing overcrowding the schools, building out more academies and career pathways and starting a foundation to fund items not covered in the budget.

Zackrisson, a longtime Ivy resident and grandparent, launched a write-in campaign in mid-August. During his campaign, he said he would represent parents that he said weren’t being listened to by the current board.

His campaign emerged at the end of a summer of contentious public comments from people for and against the division’s anti-racism focus as well as the new policy to support transgender and gender-expansive students. Those concerns partly led to the formation of a new parent group, Citizens Advocating for Responsible Education, which endorsed Zackrisson.

“While CARE is an apolitical group, part of our strategy from the outset was to find someone to run for the school board,” the group wrote on its website. “Someone who would stand up for parental rights, common sense approaches, and for policies that put every child in a position to achieve their maximum academic potential. And we were successful!”

Paige was bolstered by a strong showing from the Porters precinct, which includes the Esmont area — where Paige is from. He received about 74% of the votes, the most of any precinct other than mail-in ballots.

Zackrisson received the most votes by percentage from the Country Green precinct, which includes the area west of Old Lynchburg Road. In the Ivy precinct, Zackrisson received 36.5% of the vote.

Two other board members — Kate Acuff and Katrina Callsen — were unopposed in this year’s election.

Acuff was elected to a third term to represent the Jack Jouett magisterial district and has been unopposed in the 2013 and 2017 elections.

Callsen was elected to a second term representing the Rio magisterial district.


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