Office sought: Loudoun County School Board - Broad Run District
Party Affiliation: Republican (non-partisan election)
Previous Office Held: Sanders Corner Elementary --PTA President, July 1997-June 1999; PTA Vice President, July 1996-June 1997; PTA Secretary, July 1995-June 1996. Served on various other board and committees from July 1995 to June 2003.
Harper Park Middle School -- coordinated the PTA transition committee for opening the new school, 1999; PTA LEAP (Loudoun Education Alliance for Parents), September 1999 to July 2000; PTA Vice President July 2000 to July 2001. Served on the Loudoun County Public School Technology Steering Committee 2000.
Eagle Ridge Middle School -- PTO President May 2001-July 2002; LEAP Representative, September 2002- June 2003. Also represented Stone Bridge High School.
Belmont Ridge Middle School -- Served as the PTO transition team coordinator in 2003.
Occupation: Property Adjuster
Current Employment: United Services Automobile Association (USAA), San Antonio, Texas (1997 to present)
Previous Employment: Mesa Police Department, Mesa Arizona (1987-1990)
Education: University of Maryland; College Park, Maryland; BS in Kinesiological Sciences, 1996
Endorsements: Loudoun County School Board Chairman - Joe Vogric; (note: Since this is a non-partisan position, I did not seek a political endorsement.)
1. What is your top public-service accomplishment?
Assisted with the opening of four new schools in the Ashburn area. Coordinated the beginning of the PTO/PTA's.
3. What are the top five problems facing your constituents and what approaches will you use to solve them? Describe one challenge in your district that is different than other parts of the county.
a). In 2004, Virginia will be implementing new Standards of Learning tests and graduation requirements. The first priority is to make sure students have the opportunity to graduate with their desired diploma. This includes the appropriate funding for such programs as ESL (English as a Second Language) so "No Child is Left Behind".
It is also critical that our high school curricula remain competitive with our neighboring counties to insure our students' equal opportunities for college and trade school admissions. It is my goal to make sure the funds and resources can be made available to accomplish these goals.
b). Another challenge our school system needs to face is how to keep our schools safe as student population increases. Interscholastic sports and activities at the middle school level should be considered as a positive and worthwhile approach. It is also important to expand and support influential programs already in place such as the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program. Resource Officers are a positive influence on our students and must be maintained.
c). As with any growing organization, a gap may develop between the top administrators, teachers and parents. My objective would is to bridge this gap and keep the parents informed on issues regarding their child's school.
As your Representative on the School Board, I will be highly visible, pro-active and involved in ALL the schools in the Broad Run District. Communication with the parents is a top priority in order to solve the issues we face today.
d). The need for adequate funding is a top priority. It is imperative to provide essential material needed for all children to succeed in the classroom. The School Board must establish a good working relationship with the new Board of Supervisors to insure all of the programs are adequately funded.
e). School boundaries are a continual issue in the Ashburn community. I will encourage the School Board to revisit the current boundary process. The current feeder system is started at the middle school level. If we are going to use a feeder system approach, the high school level should be the starting point. Most of all, we need to listen to the community input and how their plans can also meet the needs of the school system.
4. What qualities, qualifications and characteristics will you bring to the office?
I am seeking this office because of my dedication and commitment to the children of Loudoun County. I have worked with parents, students and staff in the Loudoun County Schools over the past ten years.
As a long-term resident of Loudoun County and the mother of three, I am deeply committed to assuring excellence in our schools. All who work and learn in them will have my full support.
5. How will voters best distinguish between you and your opponent(s)?
My experience and involvement in the schools over the past ten years has provided me with a strong base of knowledge and understanding of the school system. I also have spoken before the Board of Supervisors many times at public budget hearings to support the LCPS proposed budget.
6. 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 be looking?
As I review and analyze the next proposed budget, I will be looking for any new proposed programs and/or expenditures that could be delayed or eliminated.
7. What have been the advantages and disadvantages of SOLs?
SOLs have shown us the strengths and weaknesses in our curricula. They enable us to focus on areas where additional resources are needed for improvement. The disadvantages of the SOLs are greater in the Ashburn area. There is too much emphasis on testing. Since the SOLs have been implemented, the core instructional programs have been linked to tests. As a result, the creativity and quality of education have been adversely affected.
8. If you had an extra million to spend on the school system any way you would like, how would you spend it?
I would fund field trips and cultural art programs related to the curricula for the schools at all levels.
9. What are the hallmarks of a well run school? Include measurable characteristics.
Hallmarks of a well run school include a combination of: high quality teachers; small classroom sizes; teacher retention; high attendance; combination of high test scores and grades.
10. What are the hallmarks of an excellent teacher? Include measurable characteristics.
Hallmarks of an excellent teacher include a combination of: intelligence; compassion; professional development (continual education); and enthusiasm for their subject.
11. If you were to create your own core curriculum, what subjects would you include?
It would first depend if I were creating this curricula for elementary or secondary schools. The priority would be as follows: Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Foreign Language. I also think it is important to have as many electives as possible depending on the career path of the student.
12. How would you increase involvement of the general public in the public schools?
The general public is pretty involved in our community. It is important to have tools in place, such as websites and emails to enhance communication. As school needs increase, there needs to be strong communication to the public with opportunities available.
13. How would you increase parental involvement in the public schools?
Parental involvement is crucial in the school system. As PTO/PTA president I have been successful in recruiting parent volunteers. The key is communicating to the public the needs and opportunities available. In the Ashburn area, parental involvement is very strong. My objective is to ensure it continues and is utilized.
14. 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?
Violent acts have increased with our growing population in the county. As far as the rate of violent acts, I would have to defer to the Sheriff's office for that information. It is crucial the school system and Sheriff's department maintain continual communication to keep gangs and violent acts off of school property.