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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Two candidates seek Democratic endorsement for FXCO school board

Two candidates—Ryan McElveen and Jeannie Armstrong—are vying for a Democratic endorsement for an at-large seat on the Fairfax County School Board.
In May, the Fairfax County Democratic Committee (FCDC) had endorsed three candidates to run for the three-at large positions, but one of them, Charisse Espy Glassman withdraw June 30 after word got out that she is involved in a pending assault charge. The two other endorsed candidates are Ted Velkoff and incumbent Ilryong Moon.

The FCDC Steering Committee will meet July 11 to agree on an endorsement process to fill the vacant position and set a filing deadline for candidates.  The endorsement vote will take place July 26.

During the May meeting, McElveen, a relatively unknown, managed to come within seven votes of securing the FCDC endorsement. He initially said he would not get back into the race, but then changed his mind, stating, “When you get second chances in life, you take them.”

A recent graduate of Fairfax County Schools—he was the valedictorian for Marshall High School’s Class of 2004—McElveen says, “I know first-hand the problems and potential of our schools.”

He vows to “continue to fight to improve the experience of Fairfax’s students, teachers, and  families in calling for a more equitable discipline system, better teacher compensation, and the elimination of athletic fees.” McElveen currently works in the International Operations and Policy office at the Boeing Co.  and serves as a Mandarin Chinese tutor to middle and high school students.

Armstrong, a professional social worker from Burke says, “it’s time to close the achievement gap among Fairfax County students once and for all.”

Speaking before supporters and the media at the Fairfax County Government Employees Union Hall in Fairfax, Armstrong said she is running because “issues including educator pay, student achievement, and controversial new disciplinary procedures necessitated a time for change for the Fairfax County Public Schools.”

Armstrong’s platform, “Fairfax Students First,”  is based on the premise that “our school district exists for the benefit of the students it educates and the community at large, which needs well-educated young men and women who leave the public school system ready for college or the workforce.”

Armstrong wants to give parents “a greater voice in the local school district, close the achievement gap once and for all, policy changes that will allow classroom teachers to spend more time focusing on educating children, and responsible fiscal planning for the district.”

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