Thank you League of Women Voters!

Dear Mount Vernon Friends, 

Board oversight of the 10th largest school system in the United States with a $3 billion budget, 188,000 students, over 30,000 employees, and 196 schools and centers that make up Fairfax County Public Schools is on the ballot November 5, 2019. This position requires experience in fiscal management, governance, policy making, an understanding of the community and a passion for constituent services.


Last night, I participated in the first of the League of Women Voters Forum’s for the upcoming election. Unfortunately, the format for the evening did not provide an opportunity for the candidates to engage in discussion directly with the community about their ability to perform as your school board representative. Voters in Mount Vernon have a clear choice to make this year. 

The choice is whether we continue to move forward with experienced leadership focused on realizing equity and excellence for all of Mount Vernon’s students or outsource their future to a charter school model which has proven to result in high closure rate due to financial mismanagement and substandard academics, selective admissions and frequent expulsions.  This model does not provide a solution the overcrowding of our schools or achievement gaps, instead would leave students stranded and without options while draining already limited resources.

I continue my commitment to equity and excellence, sound strategic and fiscal management and as a champion for our community, students, families and staff that have worked hard to improve and expand opportunities for students. My opponents are new to the Mount Vernon District, are narrowly focused on a couple of issues and use divisive inflammatory rhetoric rather offering sound solutions.  

Mount Vernon deserves a full-time executive who understands the unique needs of our community on the school board. My record speaks for itself.  Here is an abbreviated list of what I have accomplished over the last 4 years as a board member, Vice Chair and Chair follows:

  • achieved accreditation for 13 schools not accredited in 2015, 
  • made progress on narrowing achievement gaps that persist throughout the Commonwealth and the Nation 
  • We introduced new opportunities for our high school students to take dual enrollment courses, and pursue career and technical education courses and certifications, apprenticeships, and workplace learning experiences;
  • created strong business and community partnerships to support our students in K-12, 
  • established two community school programs with wrap around services,
  • increased educator compensation, mitigating the exodus to other counties for better pay; 
  • proposed the review of our security practices in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting and are implementing the recommended solutions;
  • reformed discipline practices with focused on restorative justice, second chances and partnering with parents to address challenging behaviors; 
  • revised the School Resource Officer MOU to clearly delineate the role of police officers vs. administrators in our schools; 
  • established the Joint Environmental Taskforce with the Board of Supervisors, beginning to implement solar on school buildings;
  • hired an independent counsel and established a task force to address community, parent and staff concerns about restraint and seclusion; 
  • implemented mandatory professional development for administrators and teachers on trauma informed education, crisis management, hired behavior intervention teachers in each of our pyramids; 
  • appointed a chief equity officer;
  • appointed an Ombudsman to assist parents;
  • championed FCPS’s work on supporting twice exceptional students, concluding with the publication of the first 2E Handbook (published August 2019);
  • secured funding for design phase of capacity enhancements for West Potomac High School and the implementation of the scheduled renovations for 10 other schools in the district; and,
  • aligned the budgeting process with the strategic plan, established performance metrics and introduced greater oversight in the contracting process, increasing transparency and accountability.

Unfortunately, time did not allow us to speak in detail about some of the most pressing issues facing children in Mount Vernon and in the County. These include, but aren’t limited to, addressing the need to provide more pre-k classrooms, planning for population growth, eliminating trailers and minimizing bus time, the mental health issues our children are facing, recruiting and retaining a diverse teaching staff, and expanding pathways to opportunity for students such as establishing an early college and work force readiness program at the Original Mount Vernon High School in partnership with NOVA Community College and increasing apprenticeships in the trades.

I’ll be sharing more about what has been accomplished during my first term and my priorities for the coming term. I invite you to ask questions and join me as we continue to discuss the important issues at upcoming forums. 

Thank you, it is an honor to serve the Mount Vernon community.


Mount Vernon District School Board Representative

FCPS School Board Chair



Support the Campaign

This is a community effort. Karen is here to represent you and your Mount Vernon family at the county level. Did you know that whenever Karen meets students from Kindergarten up that she always introduces herself the same way? She invariably tells constituents, young and old, "I work for you." You should see the wide eyes of the elementary school students when they hear that!

Your donation is an opportunity to be part of something bigger. Please support Karen in her re-election campaign. Give generously today!