Spotsy School News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County schools. You can email him at

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Schools community rallying around staff displaced by house fire

UPDATE: Massaponax and Spotsylvania high schools have organized a benefit boys basketball game to support the Carlsons, Massaponax Principal Joe Pisani just told me.

All money from tickets will go to the family. People can also bring gift cards for the family and toys for the couple’s 8-month-old daughter.

The game will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Massaponax High School, 8201 Jefferson Davis Highway.


UPDATE: Len Carlson said it’s been a tough day but he’s thankful his family escaped the fire that destroyed their home.

“We got out safe so that was the main thing,” he said. “The rest of the stuff eventually can be replaced.”

He said he had considered trying to fight the fire with a hose after getting safely outside but realized it was too risky, especially with an 8-month-old daughter to think about.

The family’s church has agreed to be a drop-off point for donations this Sunday. Pathway Church Pastor Dave Hockney said people can drop off donations between 9 a.m. and noon. The church meets at Liberty Lanes Bowling Center, 5801 Southpoint Centre Blvd. in the Massaponax area.


UPDATE: People can drop off gift cards in support of Len and Christy Carlson at one of three places today, Monday or Tuesday:

  • Massaponax High School, 8201 Jefferson Davis Highway, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Spotsylvania High School, 6975 Courthouse Road (also known as Lake Anna Parkway), 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • School Board administration building, 8020 River Stone Drive, 7:15 a.m. to 5 p.m.

UPDATE: Dr. Joseph Pisani of Massaponax High School said he and Spotsylvania Principal Rusty Davis are coordinating collection efforts for the Carlson family. Anyone who wants to help should bring to either school gift cards for places such as Target and Walmart since the family lost everything, Dr. Pisani said.

The schools are open today until 4 p.m. and reopen about 6:30 a.m. on Monday.

Massaponax is located at 8201 Jefferson Davis Highway.

Spotsylvania High is located at 6975 Courthouse Road (also known as Lake Anna Parkway).

The couple lost all of their belongings in the fire, Pisani said.

“It’s tragic. The whole house is gone,” he said.

He said the family was awakened by the fire about 1 a.m. It is believed it started in the basement.

Len and Christy Carlson and their little girl, as well as Christy Carlson’s mother, were in the home at the time, Dr. Pisani said. All escaped safely.

He believes a smoke alarm alerted them to the fire.

The couple’s  child is less than one year old so they need supplies such as a crib, clothing and baby food.

Dr. Pisani said the family has found a place to stay as a result of  their network of friends.


A couple who both work for Spotsylvania County schools were displaced by a house fire overnight, officials said.

The couple impacted work at Spotsylvania and Massaponax high schools.

Spotsylvania High School Principal Rusty Davis said his staff is collecting gift cards to support the family. A message was left with Dr. Joseph Pisani at Massaponax High.

Len Carlson is a physical education teacher and head boys basketball coach at Spotsylvania High School. His wife, Christy Bagby Carlson, is an athletic trainer at Massaponax High.

The couple and their young child safely escaped the fire that destroyed their home.

“We’ll support them any way we can,” Principal Davis said.

I’m looking into ways the community can help. As soon as I have that information, I will provide it here.