Town of Residence: Chantilly
Family: Wife, Dr. Patricia Velkoff; Daughters Catherine (South Lakes H.S. 2007), Elizabeth (Chantilly H.S. 2009)
Offices held, dates: At-Large member of the Fairfax County School Board, January 2012 to present. Have served as Vice Chairman of the Board, Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Budget Committee.
Occupation and relevant experience: Senior Software Architect at Integrity One Partners, Reston VA; previously with Lockheed Martin and IBM in Manassas, VA. M.A., Computer Science, Indiana University; M. Music, Conducting, Indiana University; B. Music, Composition, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Community involvement: PTSA President, Chantilly H.S.; PTA Treasurer, Chantilly H.S., Rocky Run M.S., Poplar Tree E.S.; Treasurer, Pleasant Valley Preschool, Girl Scout Troup 2829. Volunteer, stage manager and occasional human prop, Fairfax Ballet.
Email address: email@example.com
Twitter handle: @TedVelkoff
Name three favorite endorsements: Supervisor John Foust, Senator Chap Petersen, Delegate Ken Plum.
What is one issue that defines your call to serve, why does it matter, and how will you tackle it?
Eliminate high stakes testing and replace with authentic assessments. We must the restore joy of teaching and learning that comes from projects, inquiry and communication. Recently inaugurated Portrait of a Graduate defines success not in terms of what students know, but what they can do with what they know.
What distinguishes you from your opponents and why should voters choose you?
I am proud of the work accomplished by the board of which I have been a member for the past four years. We hired a visionary and transformational leader in Dr. Karen Garza. We made much-needed changes to student discipline practices; solved the high school start time problem; and instituted full-day instruction in elementary schools on Mondays.
My opponents have seldom, if ever, attended school board meetings or work sessions, and appear to have been motivated solely by disagreement with one action of the board last May.
I have been an effective member of the school board by building relationships and brokering agreements on potentially contentious policy decisions. During my first term, my colleagues have selected me as Vice Chairman of the Board, Chairman (twice) and Vice Chairman of the Budget Committee.
How will you address the growing economic divide in county schools?
We need to expand innovative programs in schools throughout the county, especially those in economically challenged communities. We must insist on rigorous instruction for all children in all schools, whether wealthy or poor, gifted or disadvantaged. I am deeply opposed to the punitive accountability measures imposed by the state and federal government, which are counterproductive. I am just as deeply committed to the principle that we in FCPS must do everything we can to meet the needs of all children.
How will you address the achievement gap?
The most important thing we can do is to achieve universal pre-school in Fairfax County. Nobel Prize economist James Heckman has demonstrated that high quality pre-school yields a 7 to 1 return on investment in less remediation and discipline issues over the career of a student.
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?
Because Virginia’s antiquated form of government concentrates power in Richmond and marginalizes Fairfax County, the Board of Supervisors and School Board are pitted against each other by design. The Supervisors control school revenue; the School Board controls school spending. The County Executive proposes a revenue-based budget; the Superintendent proposes a needs-based budget.
The County Executive has told FCPS to “live within its means.” In accordance with that budget guidance, the Superintendent will have to cut $72M from the operating budget. In the past, the School Board has closed similar gaps by increasing class size and either limiting or freezing employee compensation. This year I will not support a budget that is balanced on the backs of our employees.
What value does FCPS add for taxpayers who do not have children in the schools?
Our schools are the most important economic asset in Fairfax County. The success of the schools depends on an excellent superintendent working collaboratively with school board members. I will continue the progress we have made in the past four years, and ask for your vote November 3.