Fairfax County School Board Candidate Questionnaires
* = Incumbent
http://www.connec...">Robert E. "Bob" Copeland
http://www.connec...">Omar M. Fateh
http://www.connec...">Jeanette M. Hough
http://www.connec...">Manar A. Jean-Jacques
Peter M. Marchetti, no reply received
http://www.connec...">Ryan L. McElveen*
http://www.connec...">Burnette G. Scarboro
http://www.connec...">Theodore J. "Ted" Velkoff*
http://www.connec...">Megan O. McLaughlin*
Katherine A. Pettigrew, no reply received
http://www.connec...">Jane K. "Janie" Strauss
Hunter Mill District
http://www.connec...">Pat M. Hynes*
http://www.connec...">Mark S. Wilkinson
http://www.connec...">Tamara J. Derenak Kaufax*
http://www.connec...">Sandra S. Evans*
Mount Vernon District
http://www.connec...">Karen L. Corbett Sanders
http://www.connec...">W. Anthony Stacy
http://www.connec...">Dalia A. Palchik
http://www.connec...">Patricia S. "Patty" Reed*
Elizabeth L. Schultz*, no reply received
http://www.connec...">Karen A. Keys-Gamarra
http://www.connec...">Thomas A. Wilson
Town of residence: Fairfax
Family: Father of 2 FCPS graduates
Education: Harvard, B.A.; William and Mary Law School, J.D.
Offices held, dates: At-Large School Board Member, 07/1995-12/1995 & 2004-present; Braddock District School Board Member 1996-1999; At-Large Planning Commissioner 2000-2003.
Occupation and relevant experience: Attorney since 1984; Member, Board of Directors, American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras, 2000-2010; Member, Board of Directors, Montessori School of Northern Virginia, 1994-1995
Community involvement: Youth soccer coaching, Fairfax-Falls Church Regional Council of the United Way, Police Chief’s Diversity Council.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter handle: @Moon4Schools
Name three favorite endorsements: My family, Fairfax County Federation of Teachers, and Democratic Party
What is one issue that defines your call to serve, why does it matter, and how will you tackle it?
We should prepare our students for global competition. They will not only lead our country in the future, but must be able to compete with the students from the other nations. I want Fairfax County to be the best place to live, work, and raise children. We need good teachers and must support them. We should challenge our students to do their best, meet their individual needs, and provide them with a broad curriculum, including in STEM and foreign language education.
What distinguishes you from your opponent(s) and why should voters choose you?
Experience and unique perspectives. I have served on the school board for 16 years, including 3 years as chairman and 2 years as vice chairman, and also chaired budget, governance, personnel, and policy committees. Furthermore, I bring unique perspectives as an immigrant grown up in poverty, an English language learner, an attorney, and a small business owner.
How will you address the growing economic divide in county schools?
All students should have resources per their needs. We should work more closely with the parents to help their children succeed. For the parents with language, cultural, or employment barriers, we should reach out to them more proactively. All students should have adequate access to digital devices and internet capability. We must also work with the County Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission on housing issues not to concentrate high poverty students on certain areas.
How will you address the achievement gap?
Adequate resources, closer work with families, and high expectations for all students are needed. I support needs-based staffing. Resources should follow students’ needs whether in opportunities, special education, or learning English as a second language. We need to equip, train, and educate parents to help their children succeed. Also, everyone should have high expectations for all students. We should expand early childhood education opportunities, working with the County, State, private sector, and community organizations.
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?
A community consensus on the school funding level should be built. I support the superintendent’s work with the budget task force to gather community input. Both the School Board and the Board of Supervisors need to know where the community stands. We should also review our programs, practices, and operations to find savings. My priorities are to increase teacher salaries, lower class sizes, and challenge all students to do their best and prepare them for the postsecondary education and employment.
What value does FCPS add for taxpayers who do not have children in the schools?
Good schools create a good community. They make your community a more attractive place to live and work. They attract more businesses and jobs and increase our property value. They generate more revenue from the commercial properties, thus reducing burden on residential real estate taxes.