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School Board Candidates Make Their Cases to Fairfax Republicans

Springfield Supervisor Pat Herrity and School Board member Patricia Reed throw their weight behind Steve Stuban

School board candidates hoping to win the Fairfax County Republican Committee's endorsement for at-large seats made their pitches to party members Thursday night—with one notable exception.

Steve Stuban, whose family tragedy has become a lightning rod for supporters who to the school disciplinary process, could not speak at the meeting, due to restrictions on political activity by his employer, the Department of Defense. So instead, Springfield supervisor Pat Herrity and incumbent school board member Patty Reed (Providence District) spoke in support of Stuban's.

"Steve is running because he fears that unless change comes to the school board, other families will be forced to endure the sufferings he and his wife have been through," Herrity said. "But make no mistake—Steve is not a one-issue candidate."

Herrity said that Stuban would bring transparency and accountability to the budget process, reduce administrative expenses and "reign in Superintendent Jack Dale." Patty Reed also spoke briefly, praising Stuban's character.

The Republicans will endorse just three out of the six at-large candidates. Though Stuban cannot ask for the party's endorsement, he can accept it if it is offered. The endorsement from two incumbents, both popular within their party, will likely act as a major boost for his candidacy. 

Still, there are five others pushing hard to obtain the party's endorsements. Though the school board positions are technically non-partisan, candidates in reality need support from political parties to help gain support and votes. Those at-large candidates spoke in support of their platforms last night at . Republicans will vote on at-large school board endorsements in July. 

Sheree Kaplan-Brown: A mother of two children in Fairfax County Public Schools, Kaplan-Brown is active in the special education committee of the Fairfax County Council of PTAs. She said that the school board is too devoted to consensus. "I won't be another rubber-stamper," she said. 

Lisa Fagan: The mother of three emphasized her work advocating for kids as a court-appointed special advocate and for those with disabilities in FCPS. "In this role, I see a lot of things that work, and don't work," she said. Fagan said that she wants to make sure there's opportunities for kids who want to pursue vocations instead of college after graduation.

Christina Guthrie: The former Marine worked for Sen. John McCain for a number of years, ultimately signing on to work for the Republican National Committee in his 2008 campaign. She said she wants to institute an external audit of the budget, add teachers' aides in all classrooms from Kindergarten through third grades, and make sure parents are promptly notified if their students are questioned for offenses. "We care about our kids, and we're their best advocate," she said. 

Lin-Dai Kendall: The architect/interior designer said that she is running because she wants "to be, albeit in a very infinitesimal way, a contributor to the restoration of America to a constitutional republic. And that battle starts in our schools." Kendall said that she wants to make sure that students in Fairfax County Public Schools are prepared for the real world, and that there are less communities split by boundary changes.

Lolita Mancheno-Smoak: Mancheno-Smoak works as an adjunct professor at Strayer University and the University of Phoenix. She said she wants to send less money to administrative tasks, make sure FCPS grads are ready for college or the workforce after graduation, and communicate effectively with parents. "You won't have to FOIA me to get access," she said.

Linda Bartlett June 17, 2011 at 02:45 PM
The upshot is the Fairfax County Republicans have an experienced, competent and articulate group of candidates running for the three at-large seats on the school board. They will engender a lively debate and competition leading up to a vote in late July. This is in marked contrast to the process that took place in the Fairfax Democrat party just a short while ago where they perverted their own standing rules in order to endorse the leadership's chosen candidates. These six people being considered are in addition to the other Republican endorsed school board candidates who taken together comprise an extraordinarily gifted group of folks who have a focus on reform and who have the potential to change the direction of education in the county to one that is child centered with the aim of maximizing the potential of every student.
Elizabeth Schultz June 17, 2011 at 04:08 PM
With respect, Steve Stuban's candidacy is characterized above as "last minute", which is not correct. I have been assisting Steve for months while the restrictions which occur under federal law - the Hatch Act - were navigated and working with his family on his Fairfax County School Board candidacy and endorsement. I have tremendous respect for not only the Stuban (and the Antoniou) family's civil and gracious advocacy in the face of the tragic loss of Nick, but also for the preeminent qualifications Steve brings with his candidacy. The fact is that Steve Stuban is taking a profound tragedy and applying his efforts not on internalized grief or anger but toward making a difference for our county. He has been deliberative in his approach to running, responsible in overcoming the restrictions thereto and thoughtful in the timing of his announcement to allow FCPS and the School Board to complete its deliberations and make their respective positions known on parental notification and discipline reform without distracting the process by an earlier announcement. The students, families, teachers and taxpayers in Fairfax County will be truly well served by Steve Stuban; I wholeheartedly advocate for his candidacy.
Gib Meadlin June 17, 2011 at 08:18 PM
I'm glad to see so many Conservatives interested in the critically important job of representing Fairfax County families on the School Board. For too long the School Board has literally been a one-party –Democrat–party. But the times are a'changin' (as the tune goes,) and the School Board needs to change as well to reflect new realities.

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