Incumbent Providence District School Board member
Town of residence: Oakton
Family: Married, two children (FCPS graduates aged 24 and 21)
Education: Master of Public Administration, Syracuse University, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs; B.A. Psychology and Sociology, SUNY Albany
Offices held, dates: FCPS School Board 2009-present; Board Budget Chair/ Co-Chair past 3 years; School Board/Board of Supervisors Joint Budget Development Committee and Infrastructure Financing Committee
Occupation and relevant experience: Successful 30-year career in government and management consulting; founder of Reed Strategies LLC; Co-founder of Choose2Lead Women’s Foundation; 1983 U.S. Presidential Management Intern; 2012 graduate of Leadership Fairfax
Community involvement: Past President of Friends of Oakton Library; fundraising co-chair for Fairfax Library Foundation
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter handle: @pattyprovidence
Name three favorite endorsements: Fairfax Education Association, Fairfax County Federation of Teachers, Class Size Counts
What is one issue that defines your call to serve, why does it matter, and how will you tackle it?
The Board must resist the temptation to rush into decisions that are not based upon ample public engagement and analysis of accurate, unbiased information. We are entrusted with allocating public funds for the greatest public benefit. I will continue to push for more accurate projections and analysis of alternatives/ impacts/costs .
What distinguishes you from your opponent(s) and why should voters choose you?
I have served on the School Board for 6 years, and have the knowledge, leadership skills and working relationships to confront the challenges ahead. Other discriminators include: non-partisan endorsements for this non-partisan School Board position; experience as FCPS parent and public school advocate; transformational changes made during my tenure, including hiring Superintendent Garza, first independent Board Auditor General, full-day kindergarten, full-day Monday, later high school start times, and “real food for kids”; and last, but not least, responsible fiscal stewardship of the $2.6 operating budget as well as the capital budget program.
How will you address the growing economic divide in county schools?
As a county, we must address the multi-faceted equity issue purposefully. We must acknowledge that organizational decisions and actions are inter-related.
How will you address the achievement gap?
As a county, we must collaborate and focus efforts on actions that make the biggest difference, including preschool, literacy and wraparound services.
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? and What are the top priorities and what could be cut?
My top priority is competitive teacher compensation. I also want to reduce those very large class sizes. While I cannot yet commit to specific cuts, important considerations include strategic priority, “bang for the buck”, public feedback, and recommendations from the FCPS Budget Task Force. As a community, we should explore potential increased revenue sources (such as a greater share of our dollars from Richmond) but manage our budget by living within our means. Now that we have produced our Portrait of the Graduate, we must seize the opportunity to change what we do in FCPS and how we do it. For example, we must work with our business community and others to address the supply and demand of a specialized workforce, and maximize partnerships. We must make sure we are still teaching the basics but yet not lose the depth and breadth of offerings that has made our school system a place for all students to succeed.
What value does FCPS add for taxpayers who do not have children in the schools?
High quality public schools benefit the entire county, impacting property values, business and economic development, and the quality of life of our residents.