The top priority of our schools should be ensuring all students, regardless of ZIP code, reach their full potential through a high quality education in a safe and welcoming environment.

The next school board needs to focus on bolstering academic rigor to prepare students for a challenging world, while at the same time placing special emphasis on making up for COVID learning loss.

Safe schools are of paramount importance. In that vein, discipline and behavior standards will be clearly communicated to parents and students, and uniformly enforced across the school system.

In addition to academics and safety, we must prioritize mental health to address the unique challenges it presents. Parents, students, teachers, staff, and outside partners all have an important role to play in ensuring a brighter future for all students.

*These issues are in no particular order.

Providing Safe and Secure Schools

Parents, teachers, and students face a world where safety and security are under constant threat. Keeping kids safe has never been more challenging. We can settle for active shooter drills, bullies, and illegal substances as a way of everyday life. Or we can fight for a world where our kids’ biggest fear is bedtime.

As a child who was bullied in school, I understand all too well the trauma caused by schoolyard bullies. Bullying of any kind will not be tolerated, and victims of bullying will be protected and supported. Schools must be proactive to ensure safety, and swift to react in order to deter negative behavior. We will do this by:

  • Establishing a Blue Ribbon Commission to study school shootings and draft recommendations for School Board consideration.
  • Conducting a top-down review of physical security measures to ensure facilities are safe.
  • Enhancing red flag policies, procedures, and training.
  • Setting an aggressive legislative agenda supporting common sense gun reforms.
  • Working closely with mental health partners to get kids and families the help and support they need.

Feeding Hungry Kids

No child should go hungry, and no parent should have to choose between keeping a roof over their head, or reloading their kid’s lunch account. Eliminating lunch fees ensures every child has access to a hot, nutritious meal during the school day. We can make school lunch debt a thing of the past. We can save families $600 annually per child by:

  • Working with state and federal leaders to attain funding to offset costs.
  • Reducing administrative overhead to help offset costs.

Building World Class Schools

Our buildings serve multipurpose roles and play host to a variety of non-school activities. We have an opportunity to construct the best and most efficient buildings, doing our part to reduce our carbon footprint. Building modern infrastructure to host our vibrant communities is key to the long term success of FCPS. We must:

  • Incorporate environmentally sustainable practices into the life cycle of buildings.
  • Set aside dedicated maintenance funding to free up bond capacity for additional construction and renovations.
  • Retrofit existing buildings to incorporate more open space, art, and environmentally sustainable practices.

Educating Global Citizens

Graduates today face an exciting and challenging world. The prospect of engaging in global commerce at the click of a button poses both opportunities and challenges. A curriculum rich in world languages, STEM pathways, career and technical education, the arts, and well-rounded, accurate humanities is vital to student success. We’ll be sure our graduates are prepared for 21st century careers by:

  • Enhancing career and technical education options.
  • Expanding STEM paths to align with emerging career fields.
  • Creating elective courses on global business, and entrepreneurship

Supporting our Staff

Teachers and staff play a vital role in FCPS. We know that an investment in teachers and staff is an investment in our childrens’ lives. It is important to build an open and transparent relationship with teachers, while welcoming their feedback on issues. Predictable pay raises and routine reviews of benefit packages are both key to recruitment and retention. I support:

  • Formally integrating teacher feedback into the policy development process.
  • Providing consistent pay increases, and exploring retention bonuses.
  • Fostering a transparent and welcoming environment by creating an ad-hoc teacher advisory council.
  • Empowering teachers through consistent training, professional development, transparency, and open communication.
  • Ensuring a fair and equitable collective bargaining agreement with employee unions to ensure quality education and great jobs for our community.

Encouraging Excellence

Scholastic achievement, excellence, and competition are core tenets of any educational environment. Fairfax County Public Schools are routinely ranked as some of the best in the country. High standards, focused curriculum, and passionate teachers all play a vital role in helping students achieve academic success. Academic excellence is one of the foundational underpinnings that make our public schools the best in the country. We must strive to help every child reach their full potential, and that starts with high expectations. FCPS will:

  • Vigorously work to close the achievement gap and address COVID learning loss.
  • Provide a high quality education for all FCPS students
  • Celebrate scholastic, athletic, and extra-curricular achievement across the board.
  • Enhance gifted and talented program capacity while ensuring rigorous academic standards and kept.

Embracing Equality

In Fairfax County, we recognize our diversity as a strength. We also recognize the inherent challenge to ensuring great outcomes for all children. Equality is not antitheses to achievement – they complement and enhance each other. Our schools owe it to students to provide equal access to equitable programs, facilities, curriculum, and resources by:

  • Targeting resources to ensure every child has a vibrant learning environment.
  • Helping children realize their full potential through enrichment programs.
  • Decreasing fees, and eliminating where possible, to expand access to after school programs and extracurricular activities.

Promoting Welcoming and Inclusive Schools

A quality education depends on a welcoming and inclusive learning environment. Building trust through open communication is key to inclusivity, and we all have a role to play. In Fairfax County, we celebrate our diversity and the value it brings to our schools and communities. Our kids thrive when school leadership values:

  • Working with the LGBTQ+ community to ensure students feel safe and welcome.
  • Providing training and education for teachers and staff to assist in fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment.
  • Encouraging and supporting cultural education activities to celebrate our diverse communities.
  • Ensuring that policy development includes members of the communities that will be impacted.

Funding Our Values

Fully funding our schools is a top priority. We cannot cut our way to success, and every budget cut is a divestment in our childrens’ future. Teachers and staff deserve consistent and predictable pay raises, and our capital improvement program needs a dedicated revenue source. As a school board member, I will make revenue diversification a top priority through building relationships and collaborating with our partners in various levels of government through:

  • Strategic planning that sets clear goals with a budget allocated to achieving them.
  • Working with state and local leaders to diversify revenue streams.
  • Implementing regular line of business budget reviews to ensure spending is aligned with community values and School Board priorities.
  • Prioritizing funding for school-based services and personnel.

Prioritizing Mental Health

COVID wreaked havoc across the world and we were not immune. The emerging mental health challenges prior to COVID were exacerbated, and schools now face an even bigger crisis. The need for consistent mental health management does not stop when a child walks off school property. Addressing this challenge will require pulling together school, county, state, and federal resources and most critically: working together. Parents, teachers, and students will all be part of this team that:

  • Works with experts to draft plans to address mental health in a post-COVID environment.
  • Spearheads efforts to combat employee fatigue and mitigate work-related stress.
  • Advocates for more funding for mental health professionals in schools.
  • Promotes a wrap-around approach to ensure children and families can get the help they need, when and where they need it.

Promoting Transparency and Engagement

Fairfax County residents are civic-minded, and highly engaged with their local government. Schools are an integral part of every neighborhood, and we have an opportunity to leverage schools to increase participation among residents and parents. Promoting transparency across the board, and within governance practices helps build trust and encourages all stakeholders to be more involved and give feedback. This involvement will inevitably lead to better schools across Fairfax County by:

  • Creating a more user friendly online budget exploration tool that allows residents to see spending at the school level.
  • Encouraging principals to increase school-based participation to assist in the annual budget development process.
  • Creating an online vendor disclosure portal allowing stakeholders access to publicly available procurement data.

Supporting our Military Families

Tens of thousands of service members choose to call Fairfax County home while serving our country at facilities throughout the region. And with them, come kids who become FCPS students. It is estimated that nearly 1 in 10 FCPS students is military connected. Additionally, many State Department and DOD civilian employees face similar challenges, and they need support. We have a responsibility and duty to do what we can to help ease these families into the community and our school system during the military move process (PCS). We can do this by:

  • Creating a Military Support Office within FCPS whose sole focus is to help newly relocated families navigate the enrollment process and provide ongoing support.
  • Developing close working relationships with DOD school liaison personnel and military family support nonprofits to help facilitate a seamless transition into FCPS.
  • Working to certify every high school under the Purple Star program.
  • Sponsoring an annual symposium for new families to learn about what FCPS has to offer, and create a space for them to meet with other members of the community