Craddock Vies For Smith's Board Seat

Craddock Vies For Smith's Board Seat

Chris Craddock's career is in youth leadership, so it seems only natural, then, that he wants to become Sully District's School Board representative. He grew up in the Oak Hill area, and he and wife Katherine live in Chantilly's Foxfield community.

"I'm interested in and active with youth in the area," he said. "And being a product of the local school system, I felt there were a lot of things missing from my education that I didn't realize until I got to GMU."

Craddock, 24, works for Young Life, a youth ministry geared toward middle and high-school students: "I oversee students from five high schools and create opportunities for kids to have fun and be in a healthy, good environment with kids who have the same beliefs, morals and values."

He graduated from Oakton High in 1997 and GMU in 2000 with a bachelor's in economics. He currently attends Reformed Theological Seminary in Bethesda and plans a career in Young Life or local church ministry. He helps with his church's youth ministry at Lanier Middle School and coaches soccer at Madison High.

Craddock also substitute teaches in Fairfax County's schools, mainly high school, and has done so for two years. He's a Republican, but doesn't believe he was given a "good understanding of the political system and what makes life work well or not" from attending school here.

He also has moral objections to what students are taught about sex. "There really is no such thing as safe sex," he said. "The message now is 'Use a condom and you'll be all right,' instead of 'Use a condom and you're [still] risking STDs and HIV.' Abstinence-based education falls more in line with my way of thinking."

Craddock found it "appalling that the School Board spent $55,000 to ask kids 'When was the first time you had sexual intercourse, and do you engage in oral sex?' When they get asked that by adults, they think it's all right." (Note: The Board of Supervisors funded the survey).

He said if he were on the School Board, he'd look into a phonics-based reading program; re-evaluate how the School Board spends its money; and make sure SOLs are used correctly and schools are held accountable for educating students "so they can graduate high school." He also favors teaching critical-thinking and memorization.

And he believes in teaching heritage, as well as history. "Sometimes kids learn that America is responsible for a lot of the world's ills, instead of understanding that we're the greatest nation on earth — and one of the most morally upright," he explained. "America should not be blamed for what happened on 9-1-1."

Anyone wishing to reach Craddock may do so at And although he's younger than the other Sully District School Board candidates, he believes he may be closer to what's happening in the school system because he graduated from it more recently and works with youth still in it. He also believes that, in him, local residents will find a kindred spirit.

"I feel like the values I hold are more in line with those of the average citizens, as far as what they'd want their children to learn," he said. "I work with about 100 kids a week through Young Life, and spending time with them is the greatest privilege on earth. If I can help shape the educational system, I'd like the opportunity to try."