Wednesday, October 25, 2023
In November, Fairfax County voters will choose 12 school board members to serve four-year terms starting Jan. 1, 2024. Nineteen candidates are running for the nine magisterial district seats. There are also three at-large seats in the November election. Virginia's School board elections are nonpartisan, meaning that party affiliations can not appear on the ballots for school board candidates. Nevertheless, parties may publicly endorse their candidates.
Candidates were asked to provide a short bio and share a story of their interaction with a voter that led them to a commitment to take action, with a tight word limit. Candidate responses are printed in the order they appear on the ballot.
For information on how and where to vote, including voting early, see https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/
As of Monday, Oct. 23, 2023, 35,669 Fairfax County voters have already voted, out of more than 714,000 active voters on the rolls. More than 670,000 active voters have yet to vote. If you are one of those who have yet to vote, make a plan to get out and vote, and bring friends and family along.
You can vote early in person until Nov. 4.
• Any registered Fairfax County voter may vote early at any Fairfax County early voting location now through Nov. 4, 2023.
• If you received a ballot in the mail, you must bring it with you and surrender it to vote in person
• Curbside voting is available for eligible voters, over 65 or with a physical disbility.
• Dropboxes are available during satellite operating hours
• Email email@example.com with questions about early voting
Or vote at your assigned polling place on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Franconia District School Board Member
Marcia St. John-Cunning
Marcia St. John-Cunning, Candidate for Member of School Board, Franconia District. Marcia’s career highlights include legislative aide for Congressman Ronald Coleman and Congressional Border Caucus staff coordinator, administrative assistant to the Hispanic Magazine publisher when it launched; Fairfax County Public Schools family liaison; Spanish interpreter; and Family Engagement Region 3 Representative. John-Cunning was the on-site Community School Coordinator (CSC) at Mt. Vernon Woods Elementary.
As a community advocate, Marcia spearheaded converting the parent liaison role from an hourly to a contracted, unified pay scale position with the inclusion of full benefits. She worked with the Successful Children and Youth Policy Team to create the Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS) community school model template. Marcia most recently represented the Hispanic Education Association Hispanic Leadership Alliance on the FCPS Core Strategic Planning Committee.
Response: As a parent/family liaison in FCPS, I worked hourly without health or retirement benefits for years. My husband covered all my benefits, so this arrangement did not affect me. However, many colleagues often reminded me they were not as fortunate. I realized how hard it was for them to work without a safety net. I organized with three other parent/family liaisons to bring the issue to the school board. We received community and parent support, including testimonials about the profound impact the parent/family liaison had on families, students, and communities.
The role was converted to a contracted, unified pay scale position with the inclusion of full benefits. Ironically, I was promoted to an hourly supervisory position without any benefits the year after the battle was won. However, the advocacy was not for me but for the parent/family liaisons who needed the benefits. Since then, the family/parent liaison position has been elevated to a more secure status. As a result, the family-school partnership bond continues to be strengthened, elevating student success.
Kevin R. Pinkney
Kevin R. Pinkney, Candidate for Member of School Board, Franconia District,-IIn 2003, Kevin and his wife moved to Washington, DC, and settled in Franconia. They are proud parents of two current FCPS students and three FCPS graduates.
Kevin is a Harvard Law School graduate and a 20-year private practice lawyer. He prioritizes listening to the needs of others, communicating ideas respectfully, achieving shared goals, and providing practical solutions to complex issues. He represents boards, general counsels, owners, and legal departments of various companies, from household names to venture-backed startups. He advises organizations with tens of thousands of employees and budgets in the tens of billions of dollars.
Highlights of Kevin’s many service activities include PTA and PTSA in elementary, middle, and high schools; the Parent Advisory Council at Clermont Elementary; coaching LMVSC soccer; teaching high school students early morning religious education; and advising Boy Scout Troop 1183.
Response: School safety is a top priority. Some parents report that their children cannot use school restrooms due to drug use, vaping, or violence risks. Students may be concerned about behavior in hallways, buses, and classrooms. New FCPS policies require principals to consider group identity in matters of discipline. FCPS instructs: “Student discipline must be implemented in ways that are equitable" (FCPS P. 2601.37P).
FCPS’s “equitable” policies encourage leniency for attackers who are members of groups that are perceived to be "overrepresented" in disciplinary proceedings. This means that discipline for the same offense will be different for students depending on their race, ethnicity, or gender.
The first step in addressing the breakdown in classroom order is to restore equal treatment for all students. Teachers are entitled to the support of school administrators in maintaining safety and order. Principals must have confidence that the equal and dispassionate application of discipline, consistent with the disciplinary matrix in the district’s Student Rights and Responsibilities policy,
Equal treatment under law has been a shared aspiration in America for generations. It is the only discipline policy that will maintain the broad-based support necessary for public education to flourish.
Endorsed by Fairfax County GOP
Mount Vernon District School Board Member
Mateo Dunne, Candidate for Member of School Board, Mt. Vernon District. I am an attorney with the U.S. Government and former vice president of advocacy for the Fairfax County Council PTA, advocating on behalf of 170+ PTAs and 40,000 members at the state and local levels for increased funding and resources. I earned my degree at Georgetown University Law Center (2003).
My wife and I moved to Fairfax County 20 years ago so our children could attend the best public schools. Our three children received an outstanding education.
Ten years ago, the superintendent decided to eliminate high school sports, performing arts, and language immersion to close a $100 million budget deficit. I organized and led a coalition of advocacy groups, PTAs, and teacher unions. We persuaded the Board of Supervisors to allocate $88 million to preserve these programs for current and future students.
I have led multiple school bond campaigns to fund our district's renovation of public schools and helped guide West Potomac High School's renovation, which eliminated 18 trailers and enhanced campus security.
Response: Fairfax County is one of the wealthiest counties in the United States, yet children in our community suffer from hunger because they do not have sufficient food at home in the evenings, on the weekends, and during the summer. Many children suffer from the cold because they do not have winter clothing, or they may suffer indignity because they do not have access to menstrual hygiene products.
I believe a child suffering from hunger, cold, or indignity can’t learn. I will work to ensure FCPS establishes and leverages its purchasing power to provide food, clothing, and a menstrual hygiene pantry at every school in need and to promote partnerships between FCPS and nonprofits to ensure the regular distribution of meals to families in need. https://www.mateodunne.com/ Endorsed by Fairfax County Democrats
Stori M. Zimmerman
Stori M. Zimmerman, Candidate for Member of School Board, Mt. Vernon District. I am a mom, educator, and military spouse with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and Biology and a Master of Arts in Teaching. During my 25 years of educational expertise as a public school teacher, I taught grade levels K–12.
Highlights of my responsibilities as a program manager include annual operating budgets, educational evaluations and assessments,data reporting, human relations management, and staff development. Beyond my professional roles, I've dedicated countless hours to volunteering in the communities I've lived in, contributing to military family readiness groups and events, and military children's awareness campaigns and fundraising initiatives.
Response:I have knocked on many doors and listened to concerned parents and constituents alike, and their biggest concern always comes back to learning. Many people that I have spoken with want to see a school board and central office administrators who prioritize students and learning over politics in the classroom so that our teachers and administrators have the autonomy to foster school atmospheres that are conducive to effective learning environments for all. It is my goal to make certain that FCPS reprioritizes its focus on teaching our students the foundational educational elements of reading, writing, and math that will underpin the rest of their education and positively impact them throughout their lives.
Literacy must be our number one priority and is the fundamental cornerstone of my platform. Despite consistent budget increases, FCPS has invested significant resources in initiatives rooted in the flawed "balanced literacy" model, lacking systematic, cumulative, phonics-based reading instruction in early elementary classrooms. Given the critical role of strong reading skills in life success, the shocking statistics on illiteracy, especially among juveniles in the courts and adults in the prison population, underscore the urgency.
The US Department of Justice states, “The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is welded to reading failure.” To tackle this issue, I will champion the adoption of a division-wide evidence-based structured literacy methodology, implemented with fidelity, commencing in kindergarten. This instructional approach will be firmly grounded in the five pillars of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. https://www.stori4students.org/
Endorsed by Fairfax County GOP