As soon as Amy Brubaker learned about the vacancy on the Culpeper County School Board’s Jefferson District, she didn’t hesitate to step up for the position.
The busy 41-year-old married mother of two elementary school children and registered nurse recently announced her decision to run as a write-in candidate.
In June, Culpeper voters found out that longtime school board member Leanne Malulani’s name won’t be appearing on the Nov. 5 ballot for the Jefferson District. Malulani’s third term, a sum of 12 years, representing the Jefferson District will conclude Dec. 31 unless she changes her mind and runs as a write-in candidate as well.
Malulani, 50, cited her busy work schedule in Fairfax and pursuing her own higher education as reasons why she’s too busy for the job these days.
“After reading the article, it seemed like someone needed to step up and oftentimes when it comes to somebody stepping up that somebody is me,” said Brubaker, a native of McLean, Va. who moved to Culpeper in 2004.
Brubaker admitted that while she doesn’t have experience as a school board member, she said she’s educated and prepared for the challenge.
“I’ve been in the health care system for quite some time and what we do is make informed decisions and we use evidence-based practice and that’s basically the intelligent way to make decisions,” said Brubaker. “You gather all of the information and make an educated decision and that’s what I imagine the school board members do.”
Brubaker said the Culpeper County Public School system is one of the reasons her family moved here in 2004.
“Because I knew that I was going to be bringing up my children in this community,” said Brubaker. “The teachers are amazing and they are working in budget-issue times to do more with less just like everyone else is and they are reaching out to outside entities getting grants which is a smart thing to do.”
Asked her thoughts about the Culpeper County High School renovation, Brubaker said, “I know the school was falling apart and it needed to be done.”
CCHS, built in 1969, is undergoing a $20 million overhaul with an expected completion in December 2014.
Medical care work history
Before becoming a home health and hospice nurse, Brubaker worked in Mary Washington Hospital’s emergency room for five years and served as a charge nurse in Culpeper Regional Hospital’s emergency department for another five years.
“[Those jobs] taught me how to make decisions quickly,” said Brubaker. “It’s all about figuring out the flow and making things run. And there is no, ‘We don’t have room for another patient.’ It was a lot of making decisions and figuring out what to do.”
These days, Brubaker says she’s enjoying a much slower pace working normal hours in hospice care, where she visits a patient’s home instead of the non-stop intensity of working in an emergency room.
Responding to the question what makes her an asset for the CCSB, Brubaker said, “I have children in the system and so I feel that I have a vested interest in the school system and that the children get the best possible education.”
Asked what challenges the CCSB faces these days, without hesitation Brubaker said the budget.
“Obviously, with the downturn in the economy the budget is terrible,” she responded. “You do the best that you can. You hire the best possible people, you keep them interested and happy the best that you can,” she continued. “And keeping the right people in the school system without scaring them away.”
As of the June deadline, no candidates had filed for the Nov. 5 election to represent the Jefferson District. According to Culpeper County Registrar Michele White, Brubaker has filed a certificate of candidate qualification form and indicated in writing to the Culpeper County Electoral Board her intent to run as a write-in candidate.
After graduating from Edmund Burke College Preparatory School in Washington, D.C., Brubaker earned her associate’s degree in nursing from Marymount University and her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Phoenix.
In addition to her full-time job, the busy mom also volunteers as a member of the CCPS Health Advisory Board, helped garner a $25,000 Healthy Eating Active Living grant for KidCentral to purchase physical education curriculum and equipment; volunteers for the Culpeper County Volunteer Rescue Squad and the Medical Reserve Corps — a public agency of volunteers seeking to “strengthen public health, emergency response and community resiliency.”
She’s married to Steve, a Prince William County firefighter, and they have two children: Emily, 8, a third-grader at Emerald Hill Elementary and James, 5, a rising kindergartner at Emerald Hill.