The election for Virginia Beach City School Board District 8 takes place on November 8, 2022. Prior to the 2022 election, voters could vote for all eleven Virginia Beach School Board seats, regardless of where they live. This is the first school board election where voters will only vote for candidates in their district. There is one at-large seat that is not up for election this year. David Cannon Culpepper (R) will face incumbent Carolyn Rye (I). Rye has served on the school board since 2015, and is the current chair of the Virginia Beach City School Board and holds the District 5 Lynnhaven seat.
Carolyn Rye is an Independent incumbent who was elected in November 2014. She has an extensive background in education as a private mathematics tutor and secondary school classroom teacher. She served on the PTA Boards of Lynnhaven Middle, Kingston Elementary, Kemps Landing Magnet and Ocean Lakes High School, and is a two-time PTA president at both the elementary and high school levels. Rye advocates for students making their voices heard, employee compensation, school counselor allocations, and special education supports.
Carolyn Rye prioritizes public school safety. When addressing the concerns of the community regarding mass shootings, Rye, also a mother, was in favor of the utilization of a school buzzer system, in which front doors are locked and staff can inspect visitors before buzzing them into the building. Acknowledging that “nervousness has increased as school shootings around the country have continued,” Rye believes that the new buzzer system is a proactive attempt to keep a potential shooter out of a school while not a guaranteed solution.
Rye believes special needs education should be a top priority for our schools. Rye currently promotes the five year plan the school board created in order to increase the special needs education programs, which includes better training for all staff. Additionally, Rye also advocates for the Virginia Beach public school’s music education program.
Carolyn Rye also advocates for increased employee compensation and input. Rye supports the Compensation Study commissioned by VBCPS and looks forward to the report and recommendations this fall. She is currently concerned about the persistent salary stagnation and salary compression issues and will be working towards resolving that if re-elected. She also wants to address other concerns such as teacher workload and student behaviors.
An advocate for student mental health wellness, Rye fought for the 12 additional high school counselor positions included in the 2018 Operating Budget. This resulted in an average caseload reduction of 50 students and allowed more counselor time to establish quality relationships with their students.
As a liaison to the School Board Health Advisory Committee, Rye has supported the increased behavioral and mental health support staff positions added in recent budgets.
Rye is running against David Culpepper. David Cannon Culpepper is a Republican candidate who works as a commercial pilot in Little Neck, Virginia. Culpepper was inspired to run due to his disapproval of the district's decision to keep students out of school and the mask mandates put in place for the student protection against the COVID-19 virus.
Due to her prioritization of student mental health, school safety, special needs education resources and COVID-19 safety, Carolyn Rye is the most progressive choice for this year’s race.