Curtis D. Bethany III

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Curtis D. Bethany III
Curtis D. Bethany III.jpg
Former candidate for
Board member, Newport News School Board, At-large
Elections and appointments
Last electionMay 6, 2014
Term limitsN/A
High schoolWoodside High School
ProfessionCollege student
(dead link) Campaign website
Curtis D. Bethany III was a candidate for the at-large seat on the Newport News School Board in Virginia. He lost election to the board against fellow challengers Gary B. Hunter and Rick E. Jones, Jr. in the general election on May 6, 2014.


Bethany attended district schools including Reservoir Middle School and Woodside High School. He is currently studying accounting and finance at Old Dominion University. Bethany has volunteered time with local chapters of the Boys and Girls Club and Habitat for Humanity.[1]



See also: Newport News Public Schools elections (2014)


Curtis D. Bethany III sought election against Gary B. Hunter and Rick E. Jones, Jr. in the general election on May 6, 2014. At-large incumbent Debbie Johnston did not file for re-election by the March 4, 2014 deadline.


Newport News Public Schools, At-Large General Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngGary B. Hunter 40.3% 3,569
     Nonpartisan Rick E. Jones, Jr. 39.8% 3,529
     Nonpartisan Curtis D. Bethany III 19.2% 1,698
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.8% 67
Total Votes 8,863
Source: Virginia State Board of Elections, "Official Results - General and Special Elections - May 6, 2014," May 6, 2014


Bethany reported $1,510.00 in contributions and $778.86 in expenditures to the Virginia State Board of Elections, leaving his campaign with $731.14 on hand prior to the election.[2]


Bethany did not receive any official endorsements for his campaign.

Campaign themes


Bethany listed his themes for 2014 on his campaign website:

Strengthen collaboration between students, parents, and teachers
Ensure that we are budgeting appropriately to foster a student-centered learning environment:

  • Maintain reasonable class sizes in elementary, middle, and high school so that teachers can effectively connect with students
  • Provide effective early childhood education opportunities. Studies show that quality early education leads to a higher likelihood of future success.
  • Provide teachers with the resources they need to teach our students

Actively support schools in their efforts to expand PTA membership and outreach

Implement more targeted methods to help students and parents plan for life after high school

  • Implement Forums & College Fairs targeted for parents of students who will be first generation college students and/or who will attend community college first.
  • Create “Alternative Path” forums to assist and inform parents and students who intend to take alternative paths after high school, such as military, or trade.

Establish robust peer-to-peer programs to foster academic achievement and student leadership

  • Strong peer-mentoring program consisting of high school and college students
  • Peer-tutoring programs in middle and high school led by students who excelled in various courses

Provide excellent services to promote the success of Special Needs Students

  • Prioritize teaching vocational skills to promote future employment opportunities
  • Allocate funds appropriately to serve students with special needs
  • Ensure best qualified teachers are hired to serve students with specific special needs
  • Provide adequate transportation and accommodations for students with special needs

Strengthen community ties
Promote Student Safety, Security, and Intervention through school and community collaboration

  • Enhance collaboration with the Newport News City Council to bring attention to matters that affect the safety and security of young people throughout the community
  • Establish intervention programs to target troubled students for counseling and conflict resolution
  • Connect with community organizations to collaborate on after school programs, mentoring and tutoring opportunities
  • Connect with organizations to establish more volunteer day-care operations so that parents with young children can go to work while their children are safe and secure

Strengthen student viability in today's job market

Hold career fairs, forums, and panel discussions focusing on career opportunities, career planning, and fields that are in-demand

Incorporate Financial Literacy into the curriculum

  • Introduce basic finance in high school “Living Skills” classes
  • Introduce at least one Financial Literacy course in every high school in Newport News

Focus efforts to promote student achievement in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)

  • Introduce more hands on programs for elementary school students
  • Take necessary measures to increase student proficiency in math and science
  • Establish and/or expand strategic partnerships with local companies focusing on STEM fields
  • Establish computer science courses in every middle school and high school
  • Launch Coding and Robotics Clubs or expand existing clubs


—Curtis D. Bethany's campaign website, (2014), [4]

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. Bethany 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.[5]

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. Board member Betty Bracey 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.[5]

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.[6] Newport News Public Schools is the ninth-largest school district in Virginia, serving 29,948 students during the 2011-2012 school year.[7]


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.[6]

Racial Demographics, 2010[6]
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[8]
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: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one or two tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[9]

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