Town of residence: Falls Church
Family: married with two daughters
Education: BS in Journalism, U. of Maryland
Offices held, dates: School Board Member, Mason District, since March 2010
Occupation and relevant experience: Former journalist, Washington Post staff writer.
Community involvement: Co-Founder of SLEEP (Start Later for Excellence in Education Proposal), co-Founder, Fairfax Education Coalition, former PTA president (Sleepy Hollow ES) and PTA volunteer, former legislative committee chair of Fairfax County Council of PTAs, steering committee member of Northern Virginia Healthy Kids Coalition, former member and chair of the School Board’s School Health Advisory Committee, member of the School Board’s Transportation Task Force, Girl Scout leader, Future Problem Solvers coach
Website: Sandy Evans for School Board Facebook page
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter handle: @ssevans
Name three favorite endorsements:
Fairfax County Democratic Committee
Fairfax County Federation of Teachers (FCFT)
Fairfax County Education Association (FEA)
What is one issue that defines your call to serve, why does it matter, and how will you tackle it?
For 12 years, I’ve been a passionate advocate for later high school start times for high school students for their physical, emotional and academic health. I’m proud that we succeeded in getting high school start times after 8 am, but there is still work to do to improve schedules and transportation for all students. We need to continue to work on student health issues, including adequate exercise, nutritious food, adequate sleep, less substance abuse, reduced stress and improved mental health.
What distinguishes you from your opponent(s) and why should voters choose you?
I’m unopposed this year. Voters should choose me for my dedication to children in Mason District and Fairfax County, especially our neediest students, my full-time work on the School Board and my understanding of the school system.
How will you address the growing economic divide in county schools?
I’m greatly concerned about this growing economic divide. We need to protect needs-based funding that provides more resources to schools with the most challenges. But we also need to look for creative ways to provide more balanced demographics at our schools for the benefit of all children.
How will you address the achievement gap?
Closing the achievement gap starts in pre-school, and we should focus resources on identifying and serving at-risk children. We need to protect the needs-based staffing that provides more resources to the schools with the most challenges. We also must have a very strong focus on literacy, especially for students new to our country or school system.
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?
As a community, we must advocate strongly for increased funding from the state and county. Our funding simply has not kept up with increased enrollment and uncontrollable costs, such as state pension requirements. We can look to outside private sources, such as foundations and business, but ultimately the gap won’t be closed without more investment by our government funders. Getting teacher pay back up to truly competitive levels is a top priority. No one wants to cut anything we have now, of course, but I’m hopeful the addition of our new Auditor General answerable to the School Board will help us find efficiencies. I want to keep resources focused on the classroom.
What value does FCPS add for taxpayers who do not have children in the schools?
Today’s children are tomorrow’s decision-makers, employees, business owners, inventors and problem-solvers. If we neglect their education, we neglect our future. For a more immediate standpoint, our excellent schools are what keep businesses coming to Fairfax and keep property values up.