Allison Spillman is the Democratic-endorsed candidate for the Albemarle County School Board at-Large seat. This is Part Two of a three-part profile.

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- “We went through this collective trauma and COVID and then we came out and we're not dealing with the ramifications of how these kids and how these students are doing. Some of these kids literally can't get to school because of their mental health issues,” said Allison Spillman.

She said a strong focus on mental health care will improve student outcomes.

“If we can be teaching mental health in school, and as part of our curriculum, helping kids learn how to deal with challenges, teaching them also like executive functioning skills and critical thinking skills, we will see a dramatic improvement and a lot of the areas like our absentee issue, like our student behavior issues, and I would even argue, test scores. And it's really making sure that kids feel safe, and welcome and included in our schools," she said.

She said she understands the need for school resource officers right now.

“My heart sinks every day when I send my five kids off to school because there is a fear of school shootings and violence at school. I get it,” Spillman said.

But she said her holistic approach to education also applies to safety.

“Safety coaches and mediators and helping these kids work through some of these issues. So that it doesn't always escalate to violence and the need for increased presence in our schools,” she said.

Spillman addressed why she, compared to her opponent, would be the person to address these issues.

“I recognize that they exist and that they are a part of our what our kids are dealing with. I'm a mom who has kids with mental health issues, so to tell me that you, that's not a part of their education. I would strongly disagree,” she said.