Town of residence: Mt. Vernon
Family: Husband Daniel, Daughters Sara (21) Annelieske (18)
Education: Boston University MSIM (1990) (distinguished Alumni 2011), University of Notre Dame BA (1982), Groveton HS (1979)
Offices held, dates: None
Occupation and relevant experience: As Verizon, Vice President (retired) served on Boards of Directors and Operating Committees of International Companies ($2 billion/yr); As Booz, Allen & Hamilton, Senior Associate, provided strategic and program planning advice to Fortune 100 companies and government clients including the White House, DoD and national research labs.
Community involvement: PTA President, West Potomac HS, Belle View ES, Chair, Advanced Academic Programs Advisory Committee, Member, Student Services Advisory Committee (County & WPHS), Orchestra & Band Booster Boards (Carl Sandburg MS and West Potomac HS), Odyssey of the Mind Coach & Regional Board Member, Girl Scout Leader, CCD Teacher, Inova Children's Hospital Quality Board Member, Inova Mt. Vernon Hospital Development Council Chair, Re-use of Original Mt. Vernon HS Task Force Chair.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter handle: karen4schools
Name three favorite endorsements: 1) The students (and parents) who’s lives I’ve touched, 2) the Teachers’ Organizations and 3) the Federal and local policymakers I will work with to ensure our schools receive the necessary resources.
What is one issue that defines your call to serve, why does it matter, and how will you tackle it?
Equity and excellence for Mount Vernon’s schools; the zip code should not determine the quality of a child’s education. My philosophy is one of creating, sharing and caring about opportunities to enable all children to achieve their potential — not just my own. I believe is important in our diverse school system. I will focus on making each of Mt. Vernon’s schools a neighborhood center of academic excellence.
What distinguishes you from your opponent(s) and why should voters choose you?
Experience in our schools, our community and business. My executive experience in international business allowed me to create jobs, manage multi-cultural teams, and work with cabinet level policy makers in over 25 countries. I have board and operations committee experience dealing with complex budgets similar to FCPS. As a Mount Vernon native, I have successfully advocated for Mt. Vernon’s students within our schools, on county-wide advisory committees and task forces and with the business community. The community can count on me to listen to its concerns and advocate for our students.
How will you address the growing economic divide in county schools?
Proposed budget cuts to needs based staffing for high poverty schools, summer school, athletics, the arts, and non special ed preschool programs could increase the economic divide, opportunity gaps and harm student and teacher retention efforts. I will fight to restore state and federal funding shortfalls, focus budget cuts on areas with limited student impact, eliminate/ consolidate duplicative County/School system programs. I will increase our business and community partnerships to supplement cuts and create opportunities for Mt. Vernon’s students.
How will you address the achievement gap?
Explore innovative public/private partnership solutions to eliminate the waitlist for early childhood education. Expand early identification and intervention efforts for at-risk students, explore wrap-around services for those schools with the highest needs populations; and increase parent engagement.
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?
Prioritize student success and teacher retention. Budget cuts should focus on minimizing impacts on these priorities and identifying synergies for cost savings in areas that are duplicative between the FCPS and the County. Diversify revenue base to include restoring state level funding and fees for buildings and grounds use and increasing business and community partnerships.
What value does FCPS add for taxpayers who do not have children in the schools?
A strong school system is essential to Mt. Vernon’s economic renewal. Strong Schools attract businesses and new families to move here and attend our schools. FCPS adds value by educating students that are work force or college ready, capable of adapting to a rapidly changing economy and as civic minded individuals will contribute back to the community.