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Katrina Callsen for Delegate

Katrina Callsen

DELEGATE

"I believe in the transformative power of a quality public education."

A Bit About Me

People often ask if I’m from Charlottesville; the answer is complicated.

My dad was given up for adoption in 1966. At the time of my father’s birth interracial marriage was illegal in Virginia. In 2016, we found his birth family – they lived right down the street from me. Even though I originally only came here for law school at UVA, it turns out my family has deep roots in this community; roots that were severed because my grandparents were unable to marry in a state that denied them their rights. It is easy to think that problematic laws are in the long-forgotten past, but they are not and the impact can extend generations. 

A generation later in 1984, both of my parents dropped out of high school. They were a teenage, interracial, pregnant couple in Virginia and although they could, and did, get married, they were not welcome in school. My dad joined the military and I grew up as a proud military brat. Growing up in a large enlisted family we struggled to make ends meet, but my parents never stopped emphasizing the value of education. My mom led by example, slowly earning her bachelor’s degree throughout my childhood while holding various minimum wage jobs. Being surrounded by those who serve their country and community instilled in me a deep sense of selflessness and a belief in the greatness and potential of our country.

While attending Yale University I supported myself by working everywhere from Waffle House to the Yale Office of Public Affairs. After graduation, I joined Teach For America/Americorps with the goal of advocating for educational equity. I taught middle school math in Lynn, Massachusetts. I worked with students from diverse backgrounds, many of whom were grappling with issues beyond my classroom doors. Seeing the needs of my students as they and their families worked through immigration concerns, impediments to work and housing, and the barriers associated with poverty inspired me to attend law school. There I focused my efforts on children interacting with the legal system.

Currently, I practice law as the Deputy City Attorney for Charlottesville and I am also the Former Chair of the Albemarle County School Board. My experience as an elected leader for the County and Attorney for the City have given me the unique experience of interacting with our state laws and seeing their effect on our community daily. I continue to advocate relentlessly for improving academic achievement and empowering our students with skills and opportunity. I have seen the consequences of having fundamental rights denied. I know it is more important than ever to have a hard-working representative defending our future.

- Katrina

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