Meet Kathy Beery
Candidate for Virginia Senate District 2
"I have one life and one chance to make it count for something…"
This quote by Jimmy Carter resonates with me because it's so true. As a former teacher and current activist, I have worked to make my life "count" in service to others. Now, I believe it's time for me to serve in the Virginia Senate to work for those whose voices are not being heard in Richmond. I will put the needs of all hard-working Virginians ahead of corporate interests and ideologically driven culture wars.
Kathy Beery has spent all but six months of her life in Virginia.
Her life was not always easy, but the hardships have given her a passion for justice and a tenacious commitment to making life in the Commonwealth work for everyone.
Kathy lived in the Baptist Children's Home in Salem, Virginia starting at the age of nine when her parents were unable to support Kathy and her two siblings. Spending Christmases with host families all across the Commonwealth gave her a window onto communities and families that were thriving and those that were struggling.
Seeing the child welfare system from the inside gave Kathy a heart for children and families struggling against great odds to thrive in systems made by others and for others.
After aging out of "the system," Kathy attended college for two years before marrying and starting a family. Her experience with reproductive healthcare included a miscarriage followed by the birth of David and Sarah. Kathy knows from experience the government has no role in making hard medical decisions about childbirth. She is a fierce defender of women's rights and the freedom of families to make their own decisions about family planning.
In her spare time, she enjoys the role of "Nana" to eleven grandchildren, ballroom dancing, gardening, camping, and reading.
Kathy took on part-time work as a ski instructor while her children were small to focus on being a mom. When her son and daughter went to school, she became a substitute teacher in Rockingham County. She earned a B.A. and later her M.Ed. at JMU in 2013. Kathy's desire to "make her life count" led her to become a full-time teacher in Greene County and Harrisonburg, teaching middle school science and later as a reading specialist. Now a retired reading teacher, Kathy has seen the best and the worst of public education.
Kathy is a champion of public education and a fighter for the well-being of teachers and students.
When she realized Virginia ranked 47th for school spending, Kathy became part of the founding team for VEU (Virginia Educators United), organizing a March on Richmond in January 2019 to push for funding our schools and paying teachers at the national average. VEU includes teachers, parents, and other public school supporters.
Kathy is also a proud member of the Harrisonburg Education Association (HEA) and Virginia Education Association(VEA) Retired, where she has advocated for collective bargaining for all school employees.
Her experience as a grassroots organizer and movement builder led organizations to ask her to represent Virginia on expert panels at national and statewide conferences. She has worked with Fund Our Schools and Network for Public Education to support a positive vision for education in Virginia.
Nationally, Kathy worked on a national Quality of Worklife team that surveyed more than 30,000 teachers nationwide about their working conditions and discovered that 30% reported having experienced bullying at work. With other team members, she shared these findings with representatives of the Department of Education and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). NIOSH agreed to address working conditions in schools. Kathy broadened her work by joining the National Workplace Bullying Coalition to promote national legislation to protect workers from bullying and abuse.
Kathy is ready to take her energy and passion for promoting policies and state budgets that support dignity and respect for all the Valley's Virginians to Richmond.