Office sought: Springfield District School Board
Party Affiliation: NA
Previous offices held; please include dates:
Incumbents: when elected to this position:
Current employment (include name and address of employers):
Associate Professor (tenured).
Chair, Department of Art and Visual Technology
Assistant Dean, Technology & Research,
George Mason University, 1996-present
Assistant Professor of Music Composition and Music Media Technology, Alabama
Education: (please list schools attended, degrees and dates)
Johns Hopkins University, B.M., 1986 M.M. 1997
University of Maryland, D.M.A. 2000
Lorton Arts Foundation Board Member
SouthEastern Youth Association Coach
Clifton Elementary PTA Member & Reflections Speaker
Rotary Club of Annandale Member
List a few current endorsements you are most proud of:
Where will you be as returns come in on Nov. 4?
U.S. Senator John Warner
U.S. Congressman Tom Davis III (11th District)
Attorney General Jerry Kilgore
Springfield Supervisor Elaine McConnell
State Senator Jay O’Brien (39th District)
State Senator Ken Cuccinelli (37th District)
Del. Gary Reese (67th District)
Del. James Dillard II (41st District)
Del. Tim Hugo (40th District)
Del. Dave Albo (42th District)
Fairfax County Federation of Teachers
Fairfax County Republican Committee
1. What is your top public-service accomplishment?
NA-Have not held public office before.
2. Incumbents: Describe the top accomplishment of your last term. Why shouldn’t voters blame you for current problems in your district?
3. What are the top five problems facing your constituents and what approaches will you use to solve them?
Describe one challenge (or more) in your district that is different than other parts of the county.
Low Teacher Salaries
Teacher–to-Student ratios too high
Safety of Springfield District Schools
Lack of funding for educational resources (money for our classrooms)
Commercialize FCPC IP - $50M in 5 years
Expand Corporate Partnerships per Springfield School
Support an Inspector General Position, which reports to the Board of Supervisors
The current 8 Cluster Director structure should be dismantled and replaced with three area supervisors in its place, saving FCPS $2.5M, and improving system efficiency
---The Department of Facilities Services should be merged with the County, saving FCPS ---$35M - $59M per year (taking into account a salary matrix conversion).
---The Department of General Services should be merged with the County (excluding --------transportation services), saving FCPS $22M per year.
---The Department of IT should be merged with the County (keeping and dispersing 16 -----IT technicians and 51 field service technicians as school-based), saving FCPS $44M------$51M per year.
All mergers could save over $150M - $200M a year.
4. What qualities, qualifications and characteristics will you bring to this office?
I’ve been teaching in higher education for 15 years. I’ve been teaching the graduates of the Fairfax County Public School System, and I know where we are strong, and where we can be stronger. I also have two young sons in Elementary school, which also gives me the invaluable parent perspective of what works, and what doesn’t!
5. How will voters best distinguish between you and your opponent(s)?
As a College Professor and administrator for 15 years, and the only child of six that graduated from college, let alone achieved a doctorate degree, I know the value of a good education, and how a better K-12 education can prepare children to succeed in higher education.
6. What is the minority achievement gap? How have the schools been successfully addressing this gap? What more can they do?
FCPS has moved forward in narrowing this gap a bit, but much needs to be done. Constantly moving minority children through boundary changes to lower performing schools doesn’t help. I believe giving the option of teaching phonics in elementary schools, and providing well trained and compensated Instructional Assistant in each classroom, will help close the gap. In addition, I support a peer mentoring program for at-risk kids, satisfying credit requirements for upper level students.
7. What is your understanding of research studies into the effect of school size on student achievement? What are the implications for FCPS?
As a teacher myself, I can state that large classes do not allow me to give the attention that each student requires. Large class size lowers the quality of education teachers strive to offer and maintain. Reducing class sizes is one of my main platform issues!
8. What is your understanding of research studies on sleep patterns of teenagers and the implications for high school start times?
Studies show that teenagers comprehend better two hours after they awake, or post 9:00AM. If elected, I will examine the morning school schedule for JH and JS students, as well as the affected bus schedule to see if alternative options are available.
9. If reducing class size is a priority, how would you re-allocate the budget to pay for this change?
As I stated in question #3, I plan on restructuring FCPS, saving up to $200M per year without cutting any programs. This will allow the hiring of more teachers and IAs to lower class sizes.
10. Is there "waste" in the school budget? If so, where and how much? If you can't pinpoint precisely, in what specific area would you begin looking?
I advocate the hiring of a FT Inspector General to root out waste and streamline the budgeting process. The FCPS IG will report to the Board of Supervisors, and not the Board, to help lessen the ‘battles’ between both boards. Currently, there is no school system-wide auditing and inventory system in place.
11. Has the cluster director system been successful? If so, give examples. If not, what alternatives should be explored?
No. One reason for the cluster system is to help the hiring/firing of school personnel. All cases still get forwarded to the Superintendent’s office so the primary function of the system is irrelevant. Therefore, the current 8 Cluster Director structure should be dismantled and replaced with three ‘area’ supervisors in its place, saving FCPS $2.5M, and improving system efficiency.
12. What have been the advantages and disadvantages of SOLs?
Standard curriculum so that all students graduate with the same knowledge. Less academic freedom for teachers.
13. Explain how No Child Left Behind sets standards on categories of students and its implications for Fairfax County schools.
The No Child Left Behind Act is very good in principle, but short on action. The law needs to be expanded so that a certain number of special needs children, and ESOL children that enter a school system have time for instruction to meet the stated goals.
14. If you had an extra $1 million to spend on the school system any way you would like, how would you spend it?
I would immediately spend it on increasing salaries for teachers, and/or restoring lost steps in 1990, 1991 for instructional assistants.
15. What are the hallmarks of a well-run school? Include measurable
Where the minority/minority achievement gap is insignificant, where 90% of students are capable and able to attend a college/university if they wish, and learn to be contributing good citizens in our region
16. What are the hallmarks of an excellent teacher? Include measurable characteristics.
As a teacher myself, I would consider dedication, determination, and perseverance, as well as the ability to communicate the issue or problem from various viewpoints and perspectives. An excellent teacher is one whose students anticipate with excitement the next challenge, the next grade level!
17. If you were to create your own core curriculum, what subjects would you include? Place in priority order.
English (Reading, Writing)
U.S. History (including international conflicts such as WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, etc.)
Virginia History (Including Jamestown, Revolutionary War, etc..)
World History (European, Asian, African, Middle East)
18. What are the advantages and disadvantages of public-private partnerships as they relate to Fairfax County schools?
Building schools faster, more efficiently. Potentially beholden to the private sector builders
19. How would you increase involvement of the general public in the public schools?
Current committees are good, but they are too political.
Less appointment – based committees, and more open forum community committees and meetings.
20. How would you increase parental involvement in the public schools?
I would personally organize more district-based forums for parents to discuss specific school issues (Springfield) at area schools, and with my own ‘parents hat on’, extend the SB meetings community speaking-involvement opportunity to SB work sessions as well as official meetings.
21. What additional public safety steps would you recommend in addressing gangs and violent activities on or near school property? Has the rate of violent acts increased, decreased or stayed the same in the last four years? County-wide? By pyramid in the area you live?
Principles, parents, and teachers tell me, there is less crime and gang activity in our schools than four years ago. That said, we need to stay vigilant, and communicate to our children and their parents that gang activity has a devastating potential. We need to engage as many children as possible in after school programs, and encourage teachers to report concerns to principles and parents to deter potential activities.
22. What school-boundary strategies could be used to address the inequity of under- and over-enrolled schools within FCPS?
In my district, the upcoming boundaries for the new south county school are a big concern. If the new south county HS needs to draw students from neighboring regions to justify its construction, students should be moved from Lee HS (overcrowded by 410 students) and Hayfield HS (overcrowded by 687 students), as well as other neighboring overcrowded schools.
Dr. Scott Martin
Candidate for the Springfield District School Board