Democratic Endorsement Date Set

Democratic Endorsement Date Set

Field expected to narrow in coming days

The Arlington County Democratic Committee’s executive leadership has tentatively agreed to hold the party’s School Board endorsement caucus on Saturday, May 20.

The caucus will most likely take place from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the NRECA building in Ballston. The date still has to be approved during the party’s Mar. 1 meeting, said Democratic Committee Chair Peter Rousselot.

The Democrat’s executive leadership also designated April 3 as the deadline for candidates to file to run to replace retiring School Board Vice Chair Mary Hynes.

In Virginia, residents do not have to register by party, so anyone who is registered to vote can participate in the caucus as long as they sign a pledge agreeing to support the winner.

The Democratic and Republican parties are prohibited from nominating candidates for School Board elections, but both hold endorsement caucuses.

So far Sally Baird, who currently serves as co-chair of the Early Childhood Education Advisory Committee and as vice president of the Drew Model Elementary School Association, is the only resident to officially declare their candidacy for the Democratic endorsement. She has already secured the backing of School Board member Ed Fendley and County Board member Jay Fisette.

Jim Rock, who narrowly lost last year’s Democratic endorsement to Fendley, announced last week that he will not run this year due to complications from surgery.

THREE DEMOCRATS ARE mulling bids to challenge Baird for the party’s endorsement.

Sharon Davis, who lost the 1999 School Board election, said she will make her decision in the coming days.

Davis, who is married to State Delegate Al Eisenberg, has served as co-chair of the Advisory Council on Instruction and chaired the Partnership for Children, Youth and Families.

Mark Dorfman, who currently chairs the IB Parent Advisory Committee at Washington-Lee High School, said in an interview on Monday that he will publicly announce whether he is going to run during the Democratic Committee’s March 1 meeting.

Dorfman said he will not enter the race if Davis decides to run again for School Board. His daughter is a senior at Washington-Lee, and he has served as a past co-president of the Long Branch PTA and Thomas Jefferson PTA.

Reid Goldstein, the chair of H.B. Woodlawn’s parent advisory committee, said he is in the process of putting together an organizational team to help him decide whether to face Baird.

“I’m definitely interested in it,” said Goldstein, who has daughters in the seventh grade at Woodlawn and tenth grade at Washington-Lee. “I’m watching the field to see what is going on there.”

Rock’s decision to bow out made Goldstein seriously consider entering the race.

“It changed the calculus for where the contenders would be coming from,” Goldstein said. “There’s a bunch of votes he brought to the caucus last year who might be looking for another candidate.”

Goldstein strongly believes that the School Board needs another member who has children enrolled in Arlington public schools. Currently, only two of the five board members- Dave Foster and Fendly- have children who attend public schools in the county.

“Parents of APS students are most plugged into what is going on in schools and the direction the school system is going in,” he added.