Betty Bracey Dixon

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Betty Bracey Dixon
Betty Bracey Dixon.jpg
Former candidate for
Board member, Newport News School Board, Central District
Elections and appointments
Last electionMay 6, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Newport News School Board
Bachelor'sMeredith College
ProfessionRetired educator
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
Betty Bracey Dixon was a candidate for the Central district seat on the Newport News School Board in Virginia. She lost her election bid against incumbent Jeff Stodghill in the general election on May 6, 2014. Dixon previously served on the board from 2008 to 2012.


Dixon earned a B.A. in history from Meredith College. She worked as a teacher with district schools for 35 years prior to her retirement.[1]



See also: Newport News Public Schools elections (2014)


Betty Bracey Dixon lost her election bid to the Central district seat against Jeff Stodghill in the general election on May 6, 2014.


Newport News Public Schools, North General Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJeff Stodghill Incumbent 50.7% 1,748
     Nonpartisan Betty Bracey Dixon 49.1% 1,694
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.3% 9
Total Votes 3,451
Source: Virginia State Board of Elections, "Official Results - General and Special Elections - May 6, 2014," May 6, 2014


Dixon reported $684.31 in contributions and $648.47 in expenditures to the Virginia State Board of Elections, leaving her campaign with $35.84 on hand prior to the election.[2]


Dixon did not receive any official endorsements for her campaign.


Dixon lost her re-election bid against Shelly A. Simonds in the general election on May 1, 2012.

Newport News Public Schools, Central General Election, 4-year term, May 1, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngShelly A. Simonds 52.5% 1,657
     Nonpartisan Betty Bracey Dixon 47% 1,483
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.5% 15
Total Votes 3,155
Source: Virginia State Board of Elections, "May 2012 City Election Official Results," accessed March 17, 2014 (timed out)

Campaign themes


Dixon explained her campaign themes for 2012 in an interview with the Daily Press:

  • Provide a well-educated, skilled workforce for the future of our community. In addition to a strong knowledge and use of technology, we must make certain that our students are reading on grade level and taught the basic skills in grammar, spelling and math.
  • Promote vocational skills, artistic talents and communication skills for every student in order to promote post-graduate education. We must promote vocational skills and give students interested in this area the basic skill knowledge in order for them to attend post graduate technology and trade schools or apprenticeship programs. We want to educate our students to compete on the world stage.
  • Responsible use of budget and funding money. In these economic times, we must ensure that we are using our money as wisely as possible.


Daily Press, (2012) [1]

What was at stake?

Issues in the election

April 24 candidate forum

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference held a candidate forum at the district's administration building on April 24, 2014. The forum featured tense discussions between moderators Bill Thomas and Pat Woodbury and candidates answering questions about academic performance, student assessments and anti-gang efforts in the district. Board member Jeff Stodghill stated that the district had made progress on improving academic performance over the past four years. Thomas, the director of government relations at Hampton University, criticized Stodghill's optimistic view and cited poor performance by students at local colleges as an example of the district's struggles. Curtis D. Bethany III expressed concerns about the difficulty level of the state's Standard of Learning assessments, which led Thomas to state that state assessment examples he reviewed were simple.[4]

Woodbury, a member of the Newport News City Council, questioned candidates about the school board's willingness to support the city's anti-gang violence initiatives. She suggested that district officials discourage teachers from seeking disciplinary action against students to avoid damaging the district's reputation. Dixon argued that gang activity is more commonplace in district schools than is reported. Fellow incumbent Pricillia E. Burnett advocated for alternative education options for gang members rather than seeking criminal punishment.[4]

About the district

See also: Newport News Public Schools, Virginia
Newport News Public Schools is located in Newport News, Virginia
Newport News Public Schools is located in Newport News, a city in eastern Virginia. According to the United States Census Bureau, Newport News is home to 180,726 residents.[5] Newport News Public Schools is the ninth-largest school district in Virginia, serving 29,948 students during the 2011-12 school year.[6]


Newport News underperformed in comparison to the rest of Virginia in terms of higher education achievement in 2010. The United States Census Bureau found that 23.9 percent of Newport News residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 34.7 percent for Virginia as a whole. The median household income in Newport News was $50,744 compared to $63,636 for the state of Virginia. The poverty rate in Newport News was 14.5 percent compared to 11.1 percent for the entire state.[5]

Racial Demographics, 2010[5]
Race Newport News (%) Virginia (%)
White 49.0 68.6
Black or African American 40.7 19.4
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.5 0.4
Asian 2.7 5.5
Two or More Races 4.3 2.9
Hispanic or Latino 7.5 7.9

Presidential votes, 2000-2012[7]
Year Democratic vote (%) Republican vote (%)
2012 64.3 34.2
2008 63.9 35.2
2004 51.9 47.4
2000 51.5 46.7

Note: Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" percentage, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off. Read more about race and ethnicity in the Census here.[8]

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