Choosing an Ideal At-Large Candidate

Choosing an Ideal At-Large Candidate

To the Editor:

What are we looking for in our at-large School Board members who will represent the whole county, not just one district? First, they must have experience inside and outside the classroom. They must understand the challenges that teachers and staff face every day. They must be familiar with the complexity of a $1.7 billion budget and the many programs, including the arts and athletics, designed to meet the needs of all students and enrich the core curricula.

Second, they must understand the roles of the public schools in the education of all children who walk in their doors and as a center of the community. They must understand their roles as advocates for public education before the Board of Supervisors and legislators who ultimately determine the funding schools receive and the mandates they must follow.

Third, at-large members must be sensitive to and tolerant of the diversity of culture, ethnicity, race, religion, language, learning styles, abilities and talents among our students, teachers and parents. They must have the ability to listen to, respect and appreciate the concerns of all members of the community. They must be fair and moderate in their approach and make difficult and reasoned decisions on complex issues. They must be willing to compromise.

Fourth, at-large School Board members must appreciate the tensions between different parts of the county, from those areas where schools need renovation and modernization to those areas where students attend class in trailers and modular units. They must try to meet the competing demands of parents who want special education and/or gifted and talented services, performing and visual arts programs and sport teams. They must attend to the vast majority of students who are average in ability and talent.

I have been actively involved in schools for the last 11 years. There is one individual who has all these qualities: Lynn Terhar. Lynn has been actively involved in the community and has been a PTA advocate at the local, district and state levels for the last 15 years. She is the citizen representative to the Virginia High School League, which monitors many of our athletics, forensics and academic team programs and vice chair of the superintendent's Community Advisory Council, which is a group of school and community leaders. She was Westfield High School's first PTSA president, after having served as president of Chantilly High School's PTSA and Stone Middle PTA.

Lynn is a member of the Coalition for Good Schools and a founding member of the Westfield Community Coalition and Right to Read Coalition. She is a member of the Partners Against Hate, a group to fight discrimination and hatred. As district director of the state PTA, Lynn traveled throughout the county, familiarizing herself with the varied needs of all our schools. She knows the schools, understands the issues and has the patience, temperament and wisdom to represent all of us on the School Board. She is my friend and mentor. I hope that all of you join me in voting for Lynn Terhar on Nov. 4.

Lu Ann Maciulla McNabb