Terrie Dacales has Greek parents who speak five languages. She remembers her father's rule when she learned Greek as a child.
"I had a father who would say, 'In this house you will speak Greek,'" she said. "I will never forget it."
Although a majority of the students that Dacales taught as an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher in Fairfax County didn't speak Greek, she said that knowing two languages gave her the sense to know the students' situation.
"Anyone who speaks another language with English has something above," she said. "If you understand another language, you understand these children better."
The concerns of non-English-speaking students is one area that Dacales said that Fairfax County Public Schools needs to work on. As someone with experience in dual languages and as an ESOL teacher, she considers herself the right person to address those concerns. That's why her name is on the November ballot for the Lee District School Board seat.
Dacales has 30 years of teaching experience, both in Fairfax County Schools and elsewhere. County schools at which she has taught include Clermont, Green Acres, Devonshire, Franconia, Gunston and Groveton. Over the course of her career, she has received the Outstanding Teacher Award for Curriculum Development in 1986 and a PTA award in 1979. She was also nominated for Teacher of the Year award in 1981.
If elected, the six areas that Dacales wants to concentrate on are the diverse student population, reduction of violence in schools, increased parental involvement, academic essentials, support for special-needs children and budgetary concerns.
Doug Boulter, who leads the Lee District participants in the Fairfax County Republican Committee, looked at Dacales' experience during the nomination process.
"Clearly, her record of teaching in Fairfax County qualifies her," Boulter said.
Dacales' knowledge of a second language played a role as well.
"Once you learn any second language, it teaches you a whole lot more about English," Boulter said.
Aside from her experience in Fairfax County Schools, Dacales was also principal of the school at St. Katherine's Greek Orthodox Church. John Vlachos, administrator, worked with Dacales in that capacity.
"She really increased the membership of the Greek school," he said. "She was an outstanding person."