New Alexandria City School Board Formally Installed

New School Board members swearing in.

New School Board members swearing in.

The new Alexandria City School Board were formally installed at a public induction at T.C. Williams High School on Thursday.

The new board, which will serve for a three-year-period, consists of five new members and four returning members. Incumbents Bill Campbell and Karen Graf were joined by newcomer Hal Cardwell representing District A. Cindy Anderson, Margaret Lorber and Veronica Nolan, all newcomers, took the oath to represent District B while incumbents Chris Lewis and Ronnie Campbell were joined by Ramee Gentry in District C.

Alexandria Circuit Court Judge Nolan B. Dawkins presided over the swearing in part of the ceremony. The T.C. Williams choir sang the Star Spangled Banner, the T.C. Williams Jazz Band played during the reception, while two cellists from George Washington Middle School played duets while guests filed in.

The new board unanimously voted to retain Karen Graf as Chair and Chris Lewis as Vice-Chair at an organizational meeting that followed the swearing-in ceremony.

From left to right, newly elected Chair Karen Graf, new member Ramee Gentry and newly elected Vice Chair Chris Lewis.

From left to right, newly elected Chair Karen Graf, new member Ramee Gentry and newly elected Vice Chair Chris Lewis.

“I am truly honored to continue in this role and to help support the Superintendent in his focus on a high-performing school division. I am committed to quickly helping our nine-member board function and develop sustainability for our policies and practices for the City of Alexandria. In the future, no matter who is sitting in these seats, our legacy will make it clear how to be an effective school board that sees every student succeed,” said Graf.

Superintendent Alvin L. Crawley congratulated newly installed Mayor Allison Silberberg and members of the City Council who were present at the ceremony. He also thanked former School Board members including Kelly Booz, Pat Hennig, Stephanie Kapsis, Justin Keating and Marc Williams for their dedication to the school division.

Superintendent Alvin L. Crawley

Superintendent Alvin L. Crawley

“We know it takes an incredible commitment, endless energy and sacrifices to govern a school division. Thank you for your faithful service and thank you for being champions for our students,” Dr. Crawley said.

Newly-installed Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg said, “I congratulate the current and new School Board and look forward to working

closely with them, Superintendent Crawley and ACPS staff as we work to support and grow Alexandria’s educational system. I have great expectations for all students, as I said in my installation address, and ask them to study hard, get focused and stay focused.”

Chief Academic Officer Dr. Terri Mozingo and Chief Financial Officer Stacey Johnson were appointed as Superintendent Alvin L. Crawley’s designees to attend meetings in his absence.

The new Board consists of nine members who will serve until December 31, 2018:

Cindy Anderson: The former chair of the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria whose two sons graduated from T.C. Williams High School, Anderson is the co-owner of a consulting firm with ten years of experience in technology sales and training.“I recognize our public school system faces a series of complex challenges so it is difficult to pinpoint a single issue. Overcrowding has emerged as an urgent issue and I believe now we are at a critical juncture in terms of dealing with it since there will be a significant amount of redevelopment in the coming years.”
Bill Campbell: A Senior Engineer in his 29th year with the Department of Defense has two sons, Cameron and Jaquan, at T.C. Williams High School and a daughter, Janay, who graduated from T.C. Williams in 2010.

“My goal is to ensure that the ACPS 2020 and the Children, Youth and Families Strategic Plans are implemented fully and achieve their goals of educational excellence and equity, while also emphasizing the critical benefits of health, great staff, modern facilities, efficient operations and family engagement.”

Ronnie Campbell: A 30-year resident of Alexandria City who has worked for the United States Postal Service since 1985, Campbell has three children who all graduated from T.C. Williams High School. She was first elected to the School Board in 2006.

“All our students deserve to be challenged academically and have a well-rounded education. I believe in supporting the whole child regardless of who they are. I am dedicated to ensuring students from minority backgrounds, students with disadvantages and students with special needs get the quality education they require.”

Hal Cardwell: A T.C. Williams High School graduate from the Class of 1982, who currently works as a water resources engineer and who has three children in elementary, middle and high school in ACPS.

“In terms of priorities, redistricting and facilities issues are probably at the top of current concerns with the system’s schools bursting at the seams. How will we meet these challenges while remaining committed to meeting the various educational needs of an extremely diverse student population?”

Ramee Gentry: After years of traveling in a military family, Gentry came to the Washington area to work at the Holocaust Museum and chose Alexandria as the place she wanted her children to grow up.

“I am thrilled at the opportunity to give back to the community by serving our public schools, and look forward to tackling the challenge of increasing our schools’ capacity while at the same time increasing the level of rigor and excellence in our educational programming and helping foster communication between our school division and the community we serve.”

Karen Graf: Serving as the chair of the Alexandria City School Board since 2013, Graf has a background in technical communications, web development and software development. She is the mother of three ACPS students and has lived in Alexandria City for 12 years.

“My top priority will be to continue pushing academic excellence for ACPS, while addressing our capacity and budget issues. I like to strategize around the improvement of academic support to help schools be effective. By looking at data to identify the division’s needs, the budget and staffing models can become more aligned which will result in division-wide improvements in the state benchmarks like we have seen to-date.”

Chris Lewis: Lewis has been the Vice Chair of the Alexandria City School Board since January 2014. A 4th-generation Alexandrian, Lewis is a graduate of Harvard University and is employed as Vice President for Government Affairs at the public interest advocacy organization, Public Knowledge.

“My top priority is academic achievement for all students. Serving all students is the charge of a public school division. To do this we must provide adequate learning spaces by addressing the overcrowding challenges facing ACPS, especially on the West End. We also must continue build trust and support in the community to build on the academic improvement we’ve seen the last several years. This includes closing gaps for at risk groups: students in poverty, students with disabilities, minority students and English language learners. It also means providing a broad and rigorous curriculum with targeted supports to the individual needs of all students.”

Margaret Lorber: Lorber devoted her professional career to child development and social justice before spending nine years as division-wide parent liaison working with the English Language Learners Program at Alexandria City Public Schools. She is a 34-year resident of Alexandria, whose two children attended ACPS.

“I plan to spend my next three years on the School Board promoting a school system where all children achieve at their full potential and every teacher, administrator and staff person feels respected, supported and accountable to the children they seek to educate.”

Veronica Nolan: A former classroom teacher and ACPS parent, Nolan was previously CEO for Urban Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to providing training, mentoring and internships to over 2,000 students annually, including students at T.C. Williams.

“I am passionate about all children being provided with a top quality education that is differentiated according to their needs because I believe an education has the power to transform lives. I believe supporting and retaining quality teachers, principals and staff is paramount to all children receiving an excellent education.”

Student liaisons Abbey Nelson and Isabella Lovain, who were appointed in July, continue their one-year term.

See additional photos from the ceremony.

Watch a video of the full ceremony:

ACPS, News Release, School Board, Video