Fairfax County School Board Candidate Questionnaires
* = Incumbent
http://www.connecti…">Robert E. "Bob" Copeland
http://www.connecti…">Omar M. Fateh
http://www.connecti…">Jeanette M. Hough
http://www.connecti…">Manar A. Jean-Jacques
Peter M. Marchetti, no reply received
http://www.connecti…">Ryan L. McElveen*
http://www.connecti…">Burnette G. Scarboro
http://www.connecti…">Theodore J. "Ted" Velkoff*
http://www.connecti…">Megan O. McLaughlin*
Katherine A. Pettigrew, no reply received
http://www.connecti…">Jane K. "Janie" Strauss
Hunter Mill District
http://www.connecti…">Pat M. Hynes*
http://www.connecti…">Mark S. Wilkinson
http://www.connecti…">Tamara J. Derenak Kaufax*
http://www.connecti…">Sandra S. Evans*
Mount Vernon District
http://www.connecti…">Karen L. Corbett Sanders
http://www.connecti…">W. Anthony Stacy
http://www.connecti…">Dalia A. Palchik
http://www.connecti…">Patricia S. "Patty" Reed*
Elizabeth L. Schultz*, no reply received
http://www.connecti…">Karen A. Keys-Gamarra
http://www.connecti…">Thomas A. Wilson
Incumbent Braddock School Board member
Town of residence: Fairfax
Family: Married with three sons; college sophomore, college freshman, and high school sophomore (W.T. Woodson)
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in American History, Univ. of Pennsylvania; Master’s Degree in Social Work, Univ. of Maryland
Offices held, dates: Fairfax County School Board, Braddock District 2012-Present
Occupation and relevant experience: Former college admissions officer, family counselor, and community advocate
Community involvement: Former co-founder and president of FAIRGRADE; former co-founder and chairman of the Fairfax Education Coalition; current volunteer/former team representative for Rutherford Summer Swim Team; Penn Alumni reunion committee member.
Email address: email@example.com
Twitter handle: @megan4schools
Name three favorite endorsements: Fairfax Education Association (FEA), Fairfax County Federation of Teachers (FCFT), Fairfax County Democratic Committee (FCDC)
What is one issue that defines your call to serve, why does it matter, and how will you tackle it?
Ensuring a quality education for all students is the defining issue for why I wish to serve a second term on the Fairfax County School Board. One of the most important factors related to a quality education is hiring and retaining quality teachers. Regrettably, FCPS teacher salaries are not competitive within the region. Together with my colleagues and Superintendent Garza, we must develop a strategic fiscal plan to substantively address this.
What distinguishes you from your opponent(s) and why should voters choose you?
During my four years of service on the School Board, I have worked tirelessly in support of many positive changes: hiring a highly effective and responsive superintendent, increasing employee compensation, implementing healthy high school start times, improving student discipline practices, hiring a new auditor general, restoring valuable high school honors courses, restoring full-day Mondays for elementary school students, promoting mental health and well-being, and improving collaboration with the Board of Supervisors.
How will you address the growing economic divide in county schools?
As the 10th largest school system in the country, FCPS’ student population continues to become more economically diverse. Therefore, I strongly believe in the value of community schools. This model provides wrap-around social services such as health, dental, counseling, and after-school care through a coordinated county/schools partnership. As a 3-term member of the county’s Successful Children and Youth Policy Team (SCYPT), I look forward to promoting the community schools model as well as finding solutions for reducing our county’s extensive early childhood education waitlist.
How will you address the achievement gap?
I am very pleased that Superintendent Garza has created a more robust program for reducing gaps in student achievement. I will continue to promote the implementation of nationally recognized instructional programs, as well as instituting rigorous measures for monitoring student achievement.
More than half of the county budget is devoted to the local school system with a significant budget gap looming, both for FCPS and Fairfax County. What steps would you take to manage the gap and to fund the needs of the school system? What are the top priorities and what could be cut?
It is essential that the Board of Supervisors and the School Board strengthen their collaboration around the issue of employee compensation. FCPS’ has over 24,000 full-time employees and 90% of its operating budget is compensation-driven. In order for annual raises (for both county and school employees) to be fair and equitable, the County Executive and the Board of Supervisors need to develop a budget that incorporates both costs. In addition, both boards need to partner with our state legislators to advocate for increased state funding. In terms of priorities and cuts, I am committed to protecting funds for the classroom, including teacher salaries.
What value does FCPS add for taxpayers who do not have children in the schools?
Strong schools create a strong community. Specifically, residential home values are deeply tied to the quality of their local school system. Families and corporations often locate to Fairfax County because of strong schools. This in turn creates greater demand/higher values in the housing market, more jobs, and thus more taxable revenue to fund desirable county services.