“As supervisor, I will bring a new energy and perspective to Mason District while working to support our schools, to promote thoughtful and responsible development that betters our communities, and to improve transportation,” Swanson said in an email announcing her candidacy.
“A number of community members have encouraged me to run,” Swanson said. “These neighbors have told me that it’s time for a change and that they need a supervisor who will genuinely listen to their concerns and take their input into account.”
She said she and her husband Nate chose to live in Fairfax County “because we love its great schools, robust economy, and vibrant diversity – and now I feel like all three need a stronger advocate on our Board of Supervisors.”
As a former vice president of the Ravenwood Park Citizens Association, Swanson said she worked to promote “user-friendly, environmentally conscious growth in Mason District.”
Swanson, 31, has been a manager of teaching and learning strategies in the D.C. Public Schools since August 2013. She started her career as a middle school teacher with Teach for America and was a founding director of Girls on the Run D.C. She grew up in the St. Louis area and has lived in the D.C. area since 2006 and in Mason District since 2009.
She worked for two years on a campaign to fully fund Fairfax County schools and currently serves as the Mason District appointee on the Fairfax County School Board’s Human Relations Advisory Committee.
To get her name on the primary ballot, Swanson needs to submit 125 signatures to the Board of Elections by March 26. That won’t be hard, but she acknowledges it’s going to take a lot of work – and money – to unseat a long-term, well-funded supervisor. “It’s a work in progress,” she says of her campaign, “but I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think it was possible to win.”
From conversations with people from different neighborhoods, Swanson believes there’s a “rising tide of dissatisfaction” with the current Mason leadership. “People really are ready for a supervisor who is going to listen to them. It’s not just about holding town halls. It’s about hearing our feedback and developing a better approach.”
Gross “has missed some opportunities to support our schools,” Swanson said. She vows to work closely with Fairfax County Public Schools and the school board on closing the achievement gap, providing more financial support to schools, and addressing overcrowding.
While Swanson supported the establishment of Bailey’s Upper Elementary School, she said there should have been more community input. And she would like to pursue options for returning the Willston Center to FCPS as a solution to overcrowding, “but it needs to happen quickly.”
Swanson also cited the need “to create more desirable neighborhoods” as a top priority. Redevelopment is needed in Seven Corners, she says, but there are concerns with the amount of density being considered and the transportation infrastructure should be improved first. Also, she says, more attention needs to be paid to revitalizing Annandale.
Swanson earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois in 2006, earned a master’s degree in education from American University, and expects to complete a doctorate in education from the University of Virginia in 2016.