School Board-Fairfax County Lee District: Tamara Derenak Kaufax
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Votes

School Board-Fairfax County Lee District: Tamara Derenak Kaufax

Question and Answer



Fairfax County School Board Candidate Questionnaires

* = Incumbent

At Large

Robert E. "Bob" Copeland

Omar M. Fateh

Jeanette M. Hough

Manar A. Jean-Jacques

Peter M. Marchetti, no reply received

Ryan L. McElveen*

Ilryong Moon*

Burnette G. Scarboro

Theodore J. "Ted" Velkoff*

Braddock District

Megan O. McLaughlin*

Katherine A. Pettigrew, no reply received

Dranesville District

Peter Kurzenhauser

Jane K. "Janie" Strauss

Hunter Mill District

Pat M. Hynes*

Mark S. Wilkinson

Lee District

Tamara J. Derenak Kaufax*

Mason District

Sandra S. Evans*

Mount Vernon District

Karen L. Corbett Sanders

W. Anthony Stacy

Providence District

Dalia A. Palchik

Patricia S. "Patty" Reed*

Springfield District

Elizabeth L. Schultz*, no reply received

Sully District

Karen A. Keys-Gamarra

Thomas A. Wilson

Incumbent Lee District School Board member, unopposed

Town of residence: Alexandria, Virginia- Fairfax County

Age: 53

Family: I've been married to my husband for 25 years. We have 2 children. Our son is a 2013 FCPS graduate and our daughter is currently a junior at an FCPS High School

Education: BA in Political Science and Business from Penn State University

Offices held, dates: Lee District Representative, Fairfax County School Board 2011-2015, Board Chair, 2014-2015, Vice Chair, 2013-2014

Occupation and relevant experience: Former Marketing and Communications Executive for various Trade and Professional Associations: Small Business Owner of a Marketing Consulting Firm

Community involvement: I have volunteered and served in many community organizations and served in leadership positions including: Chair, Fairfax Child Care Advisory Council; PTA Vice President, Springfield Estates ES; Chair, PTA Cultural Arts, Springfield Estates & Bush Hill ES; FCPS Business and Community Advisory Council; FCPS Advanced Academic Program's Advisory Council; Fairfax Bond Committee; Lee District Budget Advisory Council; Wish Granter, Make-A-Wish Foundation; FUMC Sunday School Teacher; PTA Volunteer, Room Parent, and Team Parent.

Website: www.KaufaxForSchools.com

Email address: KaufaxForSchools@gmail.com

Twitter handle: @Kaufax4Schools

Name three favorite endorsements: Fairfax County Federation of Teachers, Fairfax Education Association, Former Principal of a school my children attended

Questions

What is one issue that defines your call to serve, why does it matter, and how will you tackle it?

My grandparents immigrated to this country for a better life. My parents taught me that education opens doors to opportunities. I was the first in my family to attend college. I can truly say that my life has changed because of my educational experiences. As a School Board member, I will work to continually meet the wide and varying needs of all children who come to our doors.

What distinguishes you from your opponent(s) and why should voters choose you?

I am a parent, community leader and have been elected by my peers to serve as both the Chair and Vice Chair during my first term on the School Board. I have the experience, passion and dedication needed to keep our schools strong. I will work to meet the needs of all students, build community and business partnerships and recruit and retain the region’s best teachers.

How will you address the growing economic divide in county schools?

I will continue to work with and to educate, our local, state and federal funding partners about the growing and diverse needs of our students. I will continue my advocacy for equitable programming throughout the county and our need to maintain needs based staffing.

How will you address the achievement gap?

Our current Board has made it our mission, through our strategic plan, to eliminate achievement gaps. I will continue to advocate for the expansion of pre-K opportunities, ensure that all ELL students have quality programs to meet their needs, oversee the Project Momentum initiatives of support and work to eliminate the digital divide. It is my hope, that FCPS become the role model other school community’s turn to for answers when they are struggling with this issue.

More than half of the county budget is devoted to the local school system with 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?

With a growing and diverse student population, lagging teachers’ salaries, and rising health care and retirement costs, our school system is facing a potential $72 million deficit. We have cut nearly a half of a billion dollars and eliminated nearly 2,200 positions since 2008. Further cuts may have devastating effects on our system. I will continue to reach out to the community and work in collaboration with all of our funding authorities-local, state and federal—to determine the best course of action for our school system. If education is indeed this state’s and this county’s top priority, we must find a way to ensure that destructive cuts that would dismantle our premier public school system do not occur.

What value does FCPS add for taxpayers who do not have children in the schools?

The number one reason businesses come to Fairfax, is because of our premier public school system. All members of our community benefit in a thriving economy supported by growing businesses. Simply put-strong schools equal strong communities.