Community News

The Candidates: In Their Own Words

[Editor’s Note: In the interest of presenting an unbiased insight into the local candidates and their platforms, Zebra reached out with a simple four question survey and asked each candidate reply with no more than 100 words per answer.]

We asked each candidate the following questions:

  1. What one characteristic, unique perspective, experience or expertise sets you apart and what would you bring to our community? Why are you interested? Why now? (Limit 100 words)


  1. What do you see as top challenges facing ACPS and how do you plan to engage the community to address them? (Limit 100 words)


  1. What do you think about Alexandria City’s debt, budget and give your concerns about how debt is being handled? (Limit 100 words)


  1. Do you think Alexandria has over or underdeveloped residential and commercial opportunities, and where do you think we need to focus dollars and the city infrastructure? Maintaining streets, parks, police/fire services, fiber optics, schools? (Limit 100 words)


Here are their answers. We made it CLEAR there was a word limit to answers. If a candidate went over 100 words in an answer, we had to “play moderator” and only print up to 120 words of their response (we gave wee bit of leeway—they are politicians after all.)  Please be sure to VOTE on November 3. 

Mayoral Race


Vice Mayor Allison Silberberg

Democratic Candidate for Mayor of Alexandria


Occupation: Writer & Consultant

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? I have been an Alexandria resident since 1989.

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? Parkfairfax

Website:     Facebook Page:

Other Contact Info:       [email protected]

  1. I am honored to be the Democratic nominee for Mayor. I am grateful that Congressman Don Beyer has endorsed me, and former Mayor and State Senator Patsy Ticer has called me, “A Voice of Reason.” Our city is at a crossroads. The question is, What kind of a community do we want to live in? All of us are the temporary stewards of this national treasure called Alexandria. Historic preservation is a core value of our community, and it needs to be a core value of our elected leadership. I will never sell City Hall. And when citizens come to City HalI, they will be heard.
  1. As a former educator, I feel strongly about academics. Clearly, we have an issue with capacity that will challenge our existing resources. Working shoulder to shoulder with the School Board, the City Council must address this issue head-on. One option that we should consider is looking at empty office space that could be repurposed as schools. We should also consider looking at the Nannie J. Lee Center, returning it to its original purpose as a school. These are short-term answers. A long-term answer is that we must add to our existing facilities. I am proud of my reputation as someone who listens to and respects the voices of Alexandria’s citizens.

C:    From 2003 to 2013, Alexandria’s debt grew exponentially from $140 million to $530 million. We must stay focused on our city’s debt and structural imbalance between our revenues and expenditures. I have a staunch commitment to economic sustainability, fiscal responsibility, and Alexandria’s AAA bond rating. My voting record as Vice Mayor demonstrates this commitment. We must grow our city’s commercial tax base in a balanced way that diversifies our economy so we are not as tied to the ups and downs of the federal government.

D:   I believe we must pursue thoughtful, appropriate development that fits in, is to scale, and protects our neighborhoods and quality of life. We must stand together to preserve our architectural fabric and the Historic District of Alexandria, our jewel in the crown that we inherited and must safeguard for generations to come. My voting record is clear and consistent, that we must continue our commitment to schools, police and fire services, libraries, and the parks. I support having municipal broadband. The next Council must also tackle the massive retrofitting of our city’s Combined Sewer System as well as address our school system’s capacity issue.

Bill Euille

Candidate for Write-In Mayor


Occupation: Consultant

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? Since birth-1950

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? Braddock / Parker-Gray

Website: BILLEUILLE.COM           Facebook Page: William D. Euille

Other Contact Info:       703-346-3562 Campaign Office

A:           As a lifelong resident of Alexandria and a product of our public school system, I have served in elected office since 1994-1997- City Council; 1997-2000-Vice Mayor; 2000-2003-City Council; 2003-Present-Mayor; Previously, I served on the ACPS School Board from 1974-84. Since returning back home upon graduating from college, I have been a community activist and civic leader, engaged with more than 20 various Non-Profits, by giving back and helping to make a difference in lives of others. I have the experience and proven leadership to govern this city as a Team Player and Consensus Builder.

B:           ACPS is experiencing enrollment and growing pains, which has impacted school and classroom capacity. I have been engaged with working with the ACPS School Board and Administration on this issue and many others, such as academic achievement and compensation, for more than 30 years. I have served on the ACPS Long Range Planning Committee for more than two years, which is the community -wide engagement process to make recommendations for addressing building renovations/expansions and new facilities. I will continue to ensure that the community be fully engaged and informed as to the Capital Improvement costs and potential tax increases to pay for the additional classrooms and future buildings, as needed.

C:           Alexandria has benefited for more than 30 years with an AAA Bond Rating, (the highest rating) from two major credit rating agencies, and this has continued during my 13 years as Mayor. This is not accidental, and our debt is below the targeted guidelines established by Council. This is a result of good governance, budgeting and leadership. We have addressed our aging infrastructure, built new schools, a new Public Safety Center, in addition to funding for Open Space, Parks, Recreation Centers, new Fire Stations, etc.

D:          Over the past several years, we have experienced an imbalance between residential and commercial development, with more residential, due to the lack of market demand for commercial. It is a MUST that we make every effort to be an attractive market for increased commercial development, as we have recently accomplished with the USPTO, National Science Foundation (NSF); Transportation Security Administration (TSA); the New METRO STATION at Potomac Yard; and the redevelopment of Landmark Mall. Future funding priorities need to be focused on Schools, and our infrastructure, to include Sewers and Streets. 

City Council Race

Willie F. Bailey

Democratic Candidate for City Council


Occupation: Firefighter

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? 46 years

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? Delray

Website:         Facebook Page:

Other Contact Info:       703-477-6771

  1. As a single parent, once my last child graduated college, I had an opportunity to give back to a city that has done so much for me. Growing up, my family lived in public and affordable housing before purchasing a home. I’m running because the opportunity that was given to me and my family growing up is becoming less possible for Alexandrians today. Having grown up in Alexandria’s affordable housing, I understand that we could be doing more for all our residents. We must push for economic diversity in our city so that our workforce can afford to live here.


  1. Alexandria’s schools are already overcrowded and we are expected to add hundreds of new students in the next decade. This increases class size and forces the city to bus students. New residential development continues to bring in families who require the use of the city’s infrastructure – sewers, roads, parks, and most notably, schools. Alexandria must be selective in choosing which developers to allow into the city and developers must be held accountable for the impact that their new residents have on the preexisting community. The city should ask developers to contribute more to help defray the burden of educating new students.

C:   Alexandria enjoys an AAA bond rating due to sound fiscal planning and budgeting. We should always look for every possible way to minimize city expenses.

D:   Alexandria’s tax base is unbalanced, as it is roughly three-fourths residential and one-fourth commercial. We should do more to entice existing businesses to relocate here and give new businesses a tax break so we can increase our tax base. Recent moves by the National Science Foundation and the TSA show that Alexandria is a competitive business environment and we should build on this progress. But building on this progress places stress on public safety services. Our fire, police, and sheriff resources should receive more funding so they can protect our buildings and our citizens. 

John Taylor Chapman

Democratic Candidate for Alexandria City Council


Occupation: Community Use Specialist, Fairfax County Public Schools

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? I was born and raised here, so my entire life.

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? The Taylor Run neighborhood

Website:          Facebook Page:

Other Contact Info:               [email protected]

A:   The unique perspective that separates me from other candidates, other than being the only native Alexandrian, is my service on the ACPS Budget Advisory Committee and the city’s Budget and Fiscal Affairs Advisory Committee. This is important because council’s primary function is determining the city budget. With schools being over 30% of the city budget, it is useful to have experience with both budgets, to ensure that resources are spent wisely. I wish to continue serving on council because we still need leadership ensuring that we improve our schools, ensure affordable housing opportunities, and meet our economic development goals.

B:    The main challenges for ACPS are ensuring capacity to handle the student population growth and having resources to attract and retain quality teachers and staff. I plan to work with community stakeholders including teachers and parents, to educate the community about the need for additional resources and partnerships to solve these challenges. I will also work with ACPS to bring forth plans to handle the capacity challenges in an effective and fiscally sound way. Lastly, I will work with city departments to ensure that students and families in need have full access to libraries, social services and other city supports.

C:    I believe that we need to work creatively to remain within our self-imposed debt limits, while still investing in our community’s infrastructure. I believe that our city budget needs to be transparent and understandable to all residents and our budget process needs to have adequate input from our community. My main concern within our city budget is that we do not allow our debt service from recent investments to crowd out the resources that we have available for our annual city government operations.

D:   I believe that there are areas in the eastern sections of our city where we have reached the capacity of residential development, and there are also parts of our city, such as the Eisenhower Valley and Potomac Yards, which still have opportunity for the right mix and scale of residential and commercial development to happen. I believe that our city would be best served ensuring that our resources go maintaining our streets, our sewer and storm water infrastructure, retaining quality government employees and improving our schools.

Timothy Lovain

Democratic Candidate for Alexandria City Council


Occupation: government relations consultant

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? 32 years

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? North Ridge

Website:           Facebook Page:

Other Contact Info:               [email protected]

A:   I bring a unique transportation expertise to City Council. I do transportation policy for a living and chair several transportation coalitions. I have also focused a lot on transportation issues as a Councilmember. I am the Vice Chair of the Transportation Planning Board for the National Capital Region and, if I am re-elected, I will be its Chair. I look forward to taking advantage of this great opportunity to use my transportation expertise to address regional transportation priorities including expanding transit service and reducing incident response times on our highways.

B:    ACPS enrollment is growing at a rapid pace (3.7% last year), which has resulted in a capacity problem. We have undertaken a capital program to build and expand our schools, which we need to continue to make a high priority. I also led the fight to increase City funding for ACPS to accommodate that increased enrollment. City funding for ACPS has been too arbitrary and haphazard. I secured a new process to rationalize City funding for schools in last year’s budget and I would like to institutionalize that process so ACPS can have greater certainty about City funding.

C:    Alexandria neglected to invest in infrastructure during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, so we face an infrastructure deficit. As a result, City borrowing has increased to finance our capital program so we can build the schools, transportation facilities, sewers, etc. that we need. Our borrowing is within our conservative debt guidelines and comparable to our neighbors. We have faced a structural deficit for several years that has forced the City to lay off workers and curtail programs. I am hopeful that our commercial development successes will enable us to secure more revenue to help our budget situation.

D:   Alexandria is in the heart of the DC area, so we inevitably face development pressures. We are trying to focus that development around our Metro stations, including the new Potomac Yard Metro station through walkable neighborhoods, well-served by transit. Done right, that kind of smart growth can actually reduce traffic. We need to maintain basic services, keep up with ACPS enrollment and continue our capital program to build the infrastructure Alexandria needs.

Redella S. “Del” Pepper

Democratic Candidate for City Council


Occupation: Homemaker

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? 47 years

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? West End

Website:                  Facebook Page:

Other Contact Info:               703–751-0770

A:   My years of service on Council–two times serving as Vice Mayor–gives me unique experience, perspective, expertise, and vision, which I believe will be helpful to the next Council and to the community. I would like to be re-elected so I can continue to work toward the successful implementation of some of the projects/plans that I have been working on. Among these are: the construction of the Potomac Metro Station and the redevelopment of the whole Potomac Yard area, the redevelopment of Landmark Mall, the Eisenhower West area, Oakville Triangle, Beauregard Corridor, the Waterfront, and the completion of the remaining two transit corridors.

B:    The expanding school population and the limited existing space to accommodate it means that ACPS will need to enlarge existing schools or increase the number of schools. This will be costly and will require the community’s support, which means considerable outreach, education and advocacy by the schools, the Council, and the students’ parents. Redistricting. ACPS needs to continue the academic rigor that resulted in the recent higher SOL scores by the students in core subjects. In addition to what ACPS is doing to improve scores, we need to involve parents in their children’s work and in the schools.

C:    I wish we didn’t have any debt and that we could pay as we go for everything. However, we are careful about the debt we DO take on, and have set for ourselves a limit of 1.6% of our fair market real property value. That’s one of the lowest in this area and we are considered very conservative. The two major bond-rating agencies assess our management of the City finances each time the City goes out to the bond market. Recently, we were given an AAA rating, meaning that we are doing a good, sound job.

D:   For the most part, Alexandria has not over or under developed residential and commercial opportunities. Looking to the future: for areas like Landmark Mall and Eisenhower West there are significant opportunities for considerable amounts of both kinds of development. Maintaining streets, schools, parks, recreation centers, libraries, pools, civic buildings, sewers, fire stations, the police station, etc. is critical and should be the focus of our spending. All are important along with employees’ salaries and the human and social services that we provide. It’s a balancing act to fund even the top priorities.

Paul C. Smedberg

Democratic Candidate for City Council


Occupation: Director of Government Affairs & Advocacy

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? 28 years

Which neighborhood(s) do you live in?  Old Town

Website:              Facebook page: facebook/smedbergforcouncil

A:   I have had the honor of serving on Council for 4 terms and hope to be elected to a fifth term on November 3. I seek reelection for I believe my institutional knowledge, balanced approach to issues and my dedication to assuring a livable, fiscally sound and healthy community for all residents differentiate me from other candidates. I have developed a keen sense of recognizing what is appropriate and suitable for the Alexandria community, I am acutely aware of the issues deemed important, and I believe that my qualifications are essential in order to sustain both fiscal and physical stability.

B:    The ACPS has made great strides in the past few years toward accreditation for both T. C. Williams and other schools and they are to be commended.  A new challenge is looming and one that appears to be related to growth in the population of school age children. This is not a challenge that can be simply addressed by increased volunteer capacity but rather one that will demand increased resources to accommodate additional children in the schools. I would urge the community to remain vigilant in reaching out to the schools in volunteer capacity but to also remain aware that this increase in numbers of students may well result in increased costs for classrooms and auxiliary components.

C:    Contrary to the cry of many opponents in this race the “sky is not falling” on Alexandria’s fiscal landscape. This City has been well served by its Staff and Councils in assuring that we are and will remain in good fiscal health. The measurements by which municipalities are constantly graded show that we are in the top percentile of cities based on our debt service, our ability to finance our fiscal needs, and our continued double AAA bond rating.  We have made significant advances in the way we development our City’s budget, measure the efficiency and sustainability of programs and services and balance the needs of all our residents in our increasingly complex urban environment.

D:   I believe that we have balanced the development of residential and commercial opportunities in a beneficial manner to the extent we are able to do so.  There is, however, work to do to strike a better balance (50-50) between our residential vs commercial development as a way to alleviate a disproportional residential tax burdens. We need more commercial development near our transit hubs and in Potomac Yard.  For many years, prior to this new century, many city infrastructure improvements were neglected or postponed.  We are playing catch up making these much needed core infrastructure improvements.  Furthermore, I positively support focusing our efforts on maintaining all streets and sidewalks.

Justin Wilson

Democratic Candidate for City Council District At-Large


Occupation: City Council/Director of Infrastructure Program Management, Amtrak

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? 15 years (a few years as a child as well)

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? Del Ray

Website:                   Facebook Page:    

Other Contact Info:               N/A

A:   Elections are about the community we want our children to inherit. My vision of the Alexandria my children will inherit is one where our fiscal future is secure, our quality of life and economic growth unaffected by congestion and our children thriving. The choice is not whether we grow, but moreover, how we grow. With responsible budgeting, coordinated economic development, infrastructure expansion and remediation, as well as educational excellence, Alexandria can lead the recovery. By protecting our long-term fiscal and physical infrastructure, expanding transportation options, ensuring the success of every child, Alexandria can be that community of choice.

B:    School capacity constraints at every level will vex our next City Council and School Board. The Council must identify resources for school capacity. I have campaigned for the resources to address these issues. I helped lead the Long Range Educational Facilities Work Group. I am proud that this Council worked constructively to tackle this issue along with our School Board, adopting new realistic enrollment estimates and providing the funding for a new Patrick Henry (as well as capacity throughout the system). We need to work to increase the capacity of Minnie Howard and address high school challenges that now loom.

C:    Alexandria has the lowest debt of any jurisdiction in Northern Virginia. The Virginia Constitution limits debt to 10% of the value of real estate. Alexandria imposes a more stringent limit of 1.6%. This year, the capital budget approved by Council came in at 1.31%. No jurisdiction in Northern Virginia reaches a level that low. That’s precisely why Alexandria enjoys the AAA/Aaa bond rating; the highest possible. I was proud to propose a new “Cash Capital” funding policy last year to ensure that during difficult budget times debt is not used as an escape valve to avoid tough choices.

D:   Cities that have been around, like Alexandria, constantly evolve and reinvent themselves. The City stands at an inflection point as the quantity of redevelopment activity planned or contemplated over the next decades can reshape our City. How we implement adopted plans will shape our economic future and affect our quality of life for generations to come. Bringing Metro to Potomac Yard gives the City an opportunity to make Potomac Yard the focus of commercial development. While demand for office is down across the region, the new office space that will be developed will be in close proximity to transit.

Monique Miles

Republican Candidate for City Council


Occupation: Managing Principal of Old Town Associates, P.C., a law firm serving clients in Virginia and DC.

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? Eight years, although I’ve lived in Northern Virginia since 1988.

Which neighborhood(s) do you live in? I live in the Kenwood Towers community, which is a part of the North Ridge area.

Website:         Facebook page:

Other contact information: [email protected] if you would like to get involved.  Twitter : @MMilesAlexCC, Instagram: miles4council

A:           I’m running because I believe Alexandria can do better. We need to get a handle on our debt. Councilmembers need to prioritize and assess future impacts when considering proposals. My experience running a small business gives me a unique perspective in examining how our City is run and how we might attract small businesses to alleviate our debt. My Business Plan is something I’ve worked hard on, which has garnered community support. As an attorney and long-time community servant, I’m a natural problem solver who thinks linearly, can negotiate with others to achieve results, and who values genuine community engagement.

B:           Overcapacity is the biggest challenge for our schools. Alexandria’s schools are bursting at the seams. Without new schools and better oversight of how money is currently being spent, the children in our schools will not receive the education they deserve. To address this issue, I suggest a study be made of how the current school funds are spent. When elected to council I would work with the School Board, educators, and parents to get their opinions on the study and come up with solutions.

C:           I am deeply troubled by City Council’s failure to address our budget concerns. According to the City’s five-year financial plan, by 2020, we will have a $128 million budget deficit if proceed with the status quo, i.e. nothing is done to address our debt. We spend 10% of our total general fund expenditures servicing debt. This situation is a direct result of failed leadership, a lack of foresight and prioritized spending, and delayed action. The City will be forced to cut services or raise taxes, unless they engage the business community, as I’ve proposed in my Business Plan.

D:          I think Alexandria should continue to explore smart growth opportunities where appropriate. More importantly, City Council should listen to members of a community that a development would affect instead of the developer. We have a forgotten constituency that Council seems to write off or laugh at, as shown by recent complaints in newspapers. In regard to infrastructure, we must maintain the high-quality public safety services, creatively plan to improve our transportation system, and concentrate on improving our storm water infrastructure to comply with new federal standards by 2020. These three priorities will be massive spending projects but are necessary if we are to grow and continue to be a great American city. 

Fernando M Torrez

Republican Candidate for City Council


Occupation: Small Business owner

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? My business has been part of this city for the past 7 years and I have been a resident for three.

Which neighborhood(s) do you live in? Parker-Gray

Website:                 Facebook page: Fernando Torrez for Alexandria City Council

Other contact information: Twitter @Torrez4Council, Email: [email protected], Phone#:  571-781-CITY, Address: 105 N. Washington St. #201, Alexandria, VA 22314

A:           As a small business owner, Air Force Veteran, and immigrant I bring a unique perspective and set of skills. I believe in the American Dream and am proof that anyone in this great nation can achieve their goals if they join together work hard, work smart, and perseveres. I see City Council ignoring certain issues in the business community as well as in education that deserve careful attention. Our construction, roads and infrastructure need tighter planning and control. Having become a new father recently has made me keenly aware of the need to help drive the future of our city. I want my daughter to receive an outstanding education and live in a vibrant area.

B:           Our daughter Alexandra, will one day attend school here so ACPS is very important to us in giving our daughter a great education. ACPS’s challenges come in many forms – from budget cuts, overcrowding, to accreditation issues as in the Jefferson Houston Elementary case. We all want our children to have an exceptional education. One that inspires them to expand both their horizons and intellect. These are the basic reasons for increasing community awareness, supporting creative instructors and administrators. At its core are the teachers – those individuals that interact daily with our children and into whose hands we place the minds of our young. Their profound impact must be supported and strengthened to achieve full development.

C:           I will bring leadership that is also a “voice of a reason”. One that can will work as a team to better our city. As an elected official my focus will be on fixing problems before they start. We should prioritize our spending so that the budget becomes self-funding with reserve in moving forward. I believe that in such a vibrant city we can do much better managing our debt and stop punishing residents and property owners with continual increases in property taxes. By expanding commercial occupancy, we can help manage the debt without undue strain on residents.

D:          I will advocate for development that fits our city and can be maintained while preserving the historic nature of old Town. West-End success can be achieved by focusing on areas such as Van Dorn, Landmark, and Eisenhower for commercial development by a variety of businesses. It is important that we keep in mind infrastructure needs so as not to overburden existing facilities. Funding of infrastructure starts with smart negotiation of future contracts. With continuous residential development, the city will need significantly more assets to provide adequate response times.

Townsend A. “Van” Van Fleet

Republican Candidate for City Council


Occupation: President, Van Fleet Associates, Inc.

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? 30 years

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? Old Town

Website:         Facebook Page:

Other Contact Info:

A:           I am a 30-year resident of Alexandria, and a past President of the Old Town Civic Association. I served for 8 years on the Waterfront Commission, and 15 years on the Federation of Civic Associations. I am a 23-year Army Veteran and currently a small business owner based in Alexandria. I am a proven leader who truly cares about his community. Over the past 15 years, I authored approximately 300 public policy articles. I will listen to the needs of my fellow citizens, who currently do not receive a balanced perspective on the issues.

B:           Overcrowding in our schools is a real problem. The school system continues to grow annually, and will require adaptive reuse restoration and new construction. We need to program funds within the Capital Improvement Program over the next ten years to accomplish this, while simultaneously attempting to address many of the other school infrastructure needs. SOL scores continue to improve, although we are still lower than all other Northern Virginia jurisdictions. I intend to work closely with the School Board to rectify these shortcomings.

C:           Our debt has ballooned 300% in the past ten years, from $130 to $526 million. We have a yearly debt service of $66 million, which will jump to $80 million when the Potomac Yard Metro Station development occurs. Our AAA bond rating could be in jeopardy, as we have massive infrastructure costs projected for our schools and for our combined sewer system. The City’s 5-year projection estimates the debt will increase an additional $128 million and this will raise taxes 21% by 2020. This is only sustainable if property values continue to increase. We are only a mild recession away from fiscal disaster.

D:          Residential and commercial properties can be integrated successfully, just look at Old Town and Del Ray, they are walkable, and have a great mix of residential and retail establishments , which is not true of more recent developments. Regrettably, a number of our new neighborhoods do not offer similar amenities. Regarding infrastructure, I advocate safety and security first, followed by the schools. Our infrastructure needs are gigantic. Many of our schools are in disrepair, and have not been maintained over the years. The City has been mandated to find a solution to the problems regarding our combined sewer system. This is a potential $500 million bill payer.

Bob Wood

Republican Candidate for City Council


Occupation: Executive Vice President, Non-Profit Association

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? Originally moved here in 1964; after Army service moved back in 2008

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? Seminary Valley, Lincolnia, Old Town

Website:                     Facebook Page:

Other Contact Info: [email protected]; Twitter @woodcitycouncil

A:           Following graduation from T. C. Williams and West Point, I served 36 years in the Army. I was a commander, staff officer, and team member in peace and war, from entry level to the White House, with responsibilities for leading, managing, and accomplishing tough missions and solving difficult problems. When not leading Soldiers, I was an educator, earning an MBA from the University of Chicago, teaching economics and finance at West Point, chairing a School Board, and leading the Army’s Command and General Staff College. I want to continue service to my community as I also served my country.

B:           1. Serving the needs of a transient and extremely diverse student population while meeting and advancing education standards for all students. 2. Promoting excellence in education, across all functions, within available resources. 3. Convincing citizens that their “return on investment” of tax revenues in public education is not only sufficient but also increasing. Diversity in our schools is a driving demographic fact. Understanding student needs requires outreach, counseling, and adaptable education programs. Celebrating excellence in education must match sports reporting in the press. Community contact, conspicuous commitment, and regular communications can affirm the value and quality of our schools.

C:           Debt, when used wisely, is an appropriate tool in municipal spending to allow program financing, capital expenditures, and other key long term investments for public needs. But, debt is obligating present and future taxpayers and encumbering future choices. The accuracy of our assumptions underlying debt obligations must be constantly reviewed. The return on these investments must face government scrutiny and public review. Alexandria is, only now, adopting long range financial planning and, for too long, handled the budget process as yearly internal adjustments instead of a rigorous, long-term financial review of strategic goals, net results, and tough budget decisions.

D:          Development can be good for Alexandria. It can rebalance the tax base, promote transportation options, and support expansion of business and jobs. But, too often in our city, development is out of place, out of scale, and out of touch with the community. Shortfalls in our community infrastructure – our schools, roads, sewers, communications – are repeatedly discovered after construction, deferred or ignored in budget adjustments, and discounted by city government in their search for revenue to pay down escalating debts. The results are predictable – harm to our neighborhoods, reduction in our quality of life, and elimination of our historic fabric.

Phil Cefaratti

Independent Candidate for City Council


Occupation: President and Principal Broker – Potomac River, Realtors

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? More than 10 years

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? Seminary Ridge

Website: www.philcefaratti.comFacebook Page:

Other Contact Info: [email protected]

A:           I am truly a jack-of-all-trades. I have worked to ensure I understand all aspects of the industries I work in and the companies I work for. As a Navy Supply Corps Officer, I learned leadership, accountability, customer service, business operations, and government contracting. After earning an MBA from Georgetown, I worked for high-tech firms from Silicon Valley to D.C. in corporate finance, business process management, business development, and sales. I reinvented myself in real estate, applied all that I know, and I currently own Potomac River, Realtors®. I have worked in both the private and public sectors and understand both.

B:           Having spoken to the entire spectrum of City residents, no one has ever said, “I moved here because we have great schools.” Many people choose to move to Fairfax, Loudoun, and Arlington Counties because of schools. Our greatest challenges: improving student performance, eliminating administrative inefficiencies, and managing the student population. It is fine to praise students who succeed, but we must raise up those who are not succeeding by providing greater focus on their entire lives—not just during school hours. We must create programs to engage all children free of charge in recreation and cultural arts activities after school.

C:           Alexandrians are well educated and compensated. Our AAA-bond rating is because we, as taxpayers, can afford to pay more. Although our debt is affordable, it is too high because government has invested poorly. In the short term, our debt level and debt service will increase because of the City’s fiscal policy over the past 20 years. The City has failed to maintain and upgrade sewers. Our City is failing to account for the likely true cost of a Potomac Yard Metro Station. Our City has chosen to build extravagantly, taking on higher debt than needed: T.C. Williams, Police headquarters, and Jefferson-Houston.

D:          Landmark must be driven to completion instead of waiting on the developer. We must incur debt to invest in our sewer system. Street maintenance must be more proactive and flexible to address streets needing repair. Police and fire need to be staffed to levels allowing planning instead of reacting. Fiber must come to Alexandria, whether it is private/public, public, or private. School inefficiencies must be addressed immediately to cut waste. Monies saved can be applied to teachers and programs leading to better-expected results. School infrastructure should be renovated when at all possible, instead of rebuilding.

House of Delegates Race

Andy Bakker

Candidate for Virginia House of Delegates

District 46


Occupation: Student

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? 1.5 Years

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? West End

Website:    Facebook Page:

Other Contact Info: [email protected]

This candidate did not complete the questionnaire.

Charniele L. Herring

Candidate for House of Delegates

District 46


Occupation: Attorney

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? Nearly 30 years

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? Ashton Manor/Lincolnia

Website:    Facebook Page:

Other Contact Info: [email protected]; 703-606-9705; Twitter: @C_Herring

A:           I have had the honor of serving as your Delegate since 2009. I entered public service to give back and give a voice to people who are not always heard in the halls of government. When I was a teenager, my family experienced tough economic times, and my mother and I ended up in a homeless shelter for a period of time. I went to school, and my mom searched for work. Luckily, through a state education program I was able to go to college. I have been an advocate to ensure that we preserve a social safety net and ensure that opportunities are available to all Virginians.

B:           As a state Delegate, I have consistently worked to make sure that our schools have the funding they need, and that is a stance I plan to continue. I am proud to be endorsed by the Virginia Education Association.

C:           Maintaining an outstanding credit rating is important to continuing attract residents and business to our community.

D:          n/a– This seems to be a question for members running for the city council.

Sean Lenehan

Candidate for Virginia House of Delegates

District 46


Occupation: Brand Manager

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? 31 years

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? Cameron Knoll

Website:    Facebook Page: SeanForDelegate

Other Contact Info: [email protected]

A:           I bring commonsense values and principles from years of business leadership and community involvement. My critical thinking and business-case perspectives examine what works, asks why, defines how can we measure success, compares alternative approaches and explores how others faced similar challenges. My background includes active involvement on the issues, problems and solutions facing our neighborhoods, our city, the region and our Commonwealth. For example, I lead boards of civic and community organizations as well as volunteering roles with youth sports, literacy programs, animal shelters and area food banks. My experience and track record reflect how I will govern and lead.

B:           We must demand better results from our schools. The schools have a $254 million budget for our city’s 16 schools and our per student spending is comparable to Arlington and Fairfax. Yet, our student test results trail the entire region and rank poorly in the state. This is unacceptable. Not only are we failing our children, the weak schools depress home values, discourage companies from relocating to our city and prompt families to flee our neighborhoods to seek better schools. We must demand accountability and not tolerate excuses and poor results. We can enhance public-private partnerships; explore school choice and charter school options; encourage and enable parental and mentor involvement. Our high school can offer expanded vocational and technical training. Q4: What do you think about Alexandria City’s debt, budget and your concerns about how debt is being handled?(Limit answer to 100 words)

C:           Our city debt is a concern. Our credit rating is more a function of stable employment dimensions than prudent spending decisions. Our debt service metrics and financial leverage ratios compare poorly to our peers in the region. Capital access is a weak rationale for continued borrowing. We should establish a rainy day fund, much like our state’s plan. We must bring back common sense principles and smart spending. In addition, our ability to extract tax revenue from homeowners will reach a cap. Our city has too many competitors and substitutes to squeeze more taxes from tourists, business visitors and restaurant goers. We can expand our tax receipts by attracting, retaining and allowing businesses to flourish.

D:          Our tax base has tilted from a balanced economic environment to a residential focus. Retail options have decreased in our city. It is troubling when businesses such as Giant grocery stores, Best Buy and Staples close locations in our city. In addition to losing commercial property tax revenue, we are losing jobs and sales/meals taxes. We have lost a full decade of revenue from inexcusable management of Landmark Mall, Victory Center and the Van Dorn Metro corridor. Compare these neighborhood anchors with area projects such as the Mosaic Center, Pentagon Row and the new Springfield Mall.

Mark H. Levine      

Candidate for House of Delegates

District 45


Occupation: Talk radio host/TV pundit

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? more than 14 years

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? North Old Town

Website:                             Facebook Page:

Other Contact Info: N/A

A:           I have spent my life fighting for justice for the vulnerable, whether that be victims of domestic violence, struggling families, or victims of racial, religious, or LGBT discrimination. Both as Legislative Counsel to Congressman Barney Frank and as a citizen activist, I have drafted a good deal of legislation on these issues and can therefore hit the ground running in Richmond. See Also see (Washington Post article on me)

B:           I support universal pre-kindergarten and revising Standards of Learning to emphasize critical thinking rather than teaching to the test. I support higher teacher salaries and more funding for ACPS, based on percentages of students who receive free and reduced lunch. See

C:           I believe in local control. I think the City should determine its own debt and budget. It should not be decided by us in Richmond.

D:          I believe in local control. I believe that the City should determine where it needs to focus dollars and the city infrastructure. It should not be decided by us in Richmond

Alexandria School Board Race

Christopher J. Lewis 

District C

Candidate for School Board

Candidate did not return the questionnaire.

Daria S. Dillard

Candidate for School Board

District C


Occupation: Math teacher

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? 10+

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? West End Alexandria

Website:              Facebook Page: Daria for School Board

Other Contact Info:       [email protected]

A:           I am a math educator and a single African-American parent with a child in the ACPS. This provides a unique lens in which to view the needs, accessibility and inclusionary practices of diverse populations and how to better weave those into sustainable educational goals that make our community and future workforce strong, capable and innovative.

B:           The top challenge facing ACPS is ensuring our students are receiving an education that will support them being lifelong learners not just great test takers. In order to do reach this goal ACPS will have to facilitate learning that is discovered and mastered by students; using art to inspire and capture students imagination, technology as tools and bridges and languages as a primary education core competency. As a School Board member, I plan to engage the community by promoting dialogue and negotiation, learning to work together and empowering community members to be participants in the decision-making process.

C:           N/A

D:          I would like to see Alexandria invest more into our school facilities. With our consistent enrollment increases, I would like to see money placed on improving our facilities and capacity issues.

Ramee Gentry

Candidate for School Board

District C


Occupation: Exhibitions Coordinator, US Holocaust Memorial Museum

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? 17 years

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? West End (Cameron Station)

Website:        Facebook Page:

Other Contact Info: [email protected]

A:           I think the variety of my professional and volunteer experiences have given me a breadth and depth of experience that I can use to serve our city’s schools. Through my work I have knowledge of budgeting, project management, and procurement. My volunteer experience has given me a deep understand of the needs of many different types of students: talented and gifted, special education, and English Language Learners. I have a passion for public education, and I love that Alexandria’s smaller school division allows individuals a unique opportunity to truly make a difference.

B:           Engaging the community IS the top challenge for ACPS. Too many of our residents are dismissive of our schools, often due to persistent misconceptions that need to be eradicated. On the other hand, I have also experienced the very real frustration of engaged, committed parents who are trying to work with the schools, only to meet indifference or sometimes even resistance. A school board member should be the bridge between our schools and our community, fostering a continuous, open dialogue between the two groups. I want to tackle the breakdowns in communication, and bring the two sides together for resolution.

C:           A family needs to manage debt for its financial security, and that’s true of cities as well. Alexandria needs to ensure that it continues to maintain its high bond rating. At the same time, debt is a necessary tool in order to accomplish long-term goals. School Board and City Council must work together to come up with a fiscally sound plan to address the overcrowding in our schools, as well as the urgent infrastructure repairs that need to done in our older school buildings.

D:          It’s important to recognize that vacancies in commercial properties are driven by many region-wide issues that the city’s government cannot control. However, we must find ways to face these economic headwinds and create a better balance between residential and commercial tax revenue. Construction funding for schools was delayed for too many years, despite forecasts of increasing enrollment and unresolved maintenance needs. The city needs to apply effective long-term planning to all infrastructure needs–not just schools–so that issues can be resolved incrementally, before they become acute.

Pat-Henning_School-Board-C.pdf Patricia A. (“Pat”) Hennig

Candidate for School Board

District C


Occupation: Corporate Controller

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? 40 years

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? West End – Beauregard corridor

Website:             Facebook Page: N/A

Other Contact Info: [email protected]

A:           I have been a West End resident and school system activist, as well as working with several City groups for all of my time here. I am known for doing my “homework” on topics under discussion, read all materials I am given and do not comment until I am sure of my position and for working to ensure that the West End – citizens, parents and student – are always my first consideration.

B:           1. Making the dollars go further and the academic levels increase. 2. Communicating to the public and the City government understand the needs and requirements of both the state and federal Departments of Education for the school system, and what is takes to comply. 3. Ensuring that we use all dollars for the classroom needs, not “special” or “pet projects”.

C:           The City debt is of concern to all citizens – as a Board member, my concern is on the requirement of Section 22.1 of the Code of Virginia, which requires that the City “adequately fund” the schools. As I am not an elected official of the City government, like any other citizen, all I can do is lobby for transparency and accountability.

D:          Again, I am not an elected City official. However, a tour of the City will show unattended infrastructure, such as bad roads and sewer problems. Public safety is always a concern. Schools need to be maintained and updated for optimum student learning opportunities

Ronnie Campbell

Candidate for ACPS School Board Member

District C


Occupation: U.S.P.S

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? 30 years

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? West End Resident

Website:          Facebook Page:

Other Contact Info: Cell-(793) 965-3344

 A:          Experience. As a past PTA president at both John Adams and the Alexandria PTA council, as well as a parent of 3 children who attended and graduated from ACPS- a TAG student, a child with special needs and a scholar athlete, I can relate to parents’ concerns. The teachers have also endorsed me every time I’ve run. My three terms on the board mean I’m experienced with board policy and that I know what’s been done, what has worked, and what has not. If reelected I’ll continue to affect positive change and improve our schools in a seamless way.

B:           My top challenge is to increase the academic achievement for all students especially those below grade level. This includes our English language learners and our students with special needs. We need to continue our efforts to bridge the achievement gap. It is closing for some subgroups, but additional work is needed in this area. Another challenge is capacity. We have outgrown many of our schools and I have worked to institute class size caps. John Adams alone is home to over 1000 children. I encourage our community to get involved by joining our ACPS committees or by mentoring a child.

C:           Alexandria City’s debt is a concern for ACPS because we need our City Councilors to support our schools. When we present our budget to the City Council and it’s not fully funded we have to go back to the drawing board and decide which areas will do the least damage if they are cut or reduced. School Board members are required to request what we need to support our district. The state recently changed its graduation requirements and mandated additional courses. These courses aren’t fully funded by the state, so we will need additional funding to cover these expenses.

D:          I would like to see the city create workforce housing and affordable housing. We need to encourage our teachers, police and firefighters to live here. More and more of our workforce employees are leaving Alexandria in search of affordable housing. Also, when developers want to negotiate property in Alexandria, we need to request that they include a school in their plan. I believe the city has previously negotiated a new fire station in one of the plans. Why not negotiate a school as well? With our growing enrollment we will need additional space.

Veronica Nolan

Candidate for School Board

District B


Occupation: Adjunct Professor

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? 13

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? Rosemont

Website: Facebook Page:

Other Contact Info: [email protected]

A:           We are in a unique moment in time where there is significant potential ahead for ACPS and strong leadership will be critical to achieve our upcoming strategic goals. I love Alexandria and as a current ACPS parent I am highly committed to our schools. I’m hoping to use my 20 years of education experience as a classroom teacher, nonprofit CEO and board member of youth-serving organizations, to serve the youth in our community.

B:           Having spoken to a variety of invested ACPS stakeholders the top upcoming priorities in my opinion are: – The overcrowding of several of our schools. We need to involve the community in the upcoming redistricting conversations as well as determine future spacing solutions. – The need to upgrade our facilities. We need to adhere to the facilities master plan and ensure the community is communicating the dire health hazards that exist in some of our schools to city council in an effort to ensure we have the funds to upgrade our decrepit buildings. – We need to attract, support and retain top talent so that ALL students will be served to the highest standard possible.

C:           Having been the CEO of a nonprofit that significantly grew during the recent recession, I understand the challenges of overseeing a budget during tight financial times while ensuring that quality of services does not suffer. The School Board needs to be prepared to bring forward to City Council a budget that they feel comfortable being held accountable to which effectively meets the students’ needs. I look forward to partnering with City Council as they see through their budget concerns and ensure they understand the importance of investing in Alexandria City Public Schools.

D:          I appreciate City Council’s broad scope and the varied needs of our cities. As a school board member I will be focused primarily on advocating for our students’ and schools’ needs. Currently we have a dire overcrowding situation in too many of our schools. Not only is overcrowding a concern but many of the facilities have gone years without much needed repair. I look forward to working with city council to ensure they’re educated about the current needs of our schools so that our students and staff are allowed to learn in the conditions they deserve.

Cindy Anderson

Candidate for School Board

District B


Occupation: Business owner

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? 53 years

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? North Ridge

Website: Facebook Page: Cindy Anderson for Alexandria School Board

Other Contact Info:       [email protected]

A:           I have been active in ACPS since 1998. My two children attended ACPS, graduating in 2011 and 2013. During this time, I served as the PTA President at George Mason, GW, TC Williams and the citywide PTA Council, and as a member of the School Board Budget Advisory Committee. Since 2010 I have served on the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria board and am currently the Chairwoman. Through these numerous volunteer positions, I have been a tireless advocate for Alexandria’s schools. I believe serving on the School Board is a meaningful new way for me to make a positive contribution.

B:           Capacity issues, and making sure that each student receives the necessary resources for success in school and in life are both critically important. I would advocate for forming a group of community members who could review possible sites for new schools as Arlington has recently done. Secondly, our entire community benefits from a quality public school system. While we already have many wonderful, talented community volunteers who help ACPS students, I would like to increase community participation by specifically reaching out to groups that may not have been involved in the past.

C:           see below

D:          As a school board candidate and community member, I hope that school capacity and proximity will be considered as an important aspect of all residential development planning decisions.

Mimi Goff

Candidate for School Board

District B


Occupation: Store leader

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? 30 years

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? Seminary Hill

Website: [email protected]      Facebook Page: N/A

Other Contact Info: N/A

A:           I have had the pleasure over the past few years to work with a great group of young ladies from TC Williams. Most were new to this country and I saw the struggles they had in school and adjusting to Alexandria. TC is a great school but when one young lady told me she wanted to go to college she revealed no one ever mentioned a college path to her. I was sad. Her father was a Doctor in their country. No guidance. All students should be treated equally and should have the same opportunities. The past year I have attended most of the school board meetings and I have the time to make a difference for the ACPS community.

B:           The budget-must be accountable and transparent with taxpayer ‘s dollars. The infrastructure of the schools are in decline-thoughtful planning to prevent over spending on school rebuilding or renovating them . Must have maintenance budgeted Most schools are over enrolled-need to have a new elementary school in the west end , a new middle school, and a new high school- now Test scores are improving but not as fast for gap groups- need to provide extra-support for students who need it- before, during and after school, smaller class size, commitment to English as a second language students and Special Ed students Graduation- must improve rate that is 79.6% last year- State is 90%.

C:           The debt ratio is already at the limit and overspending by the City beyond revenues will not aid ACPS obtaining the necessary funds needed for their infrastructures and new schools that need to be attended to sooner rather than later.

D:          TOO many town houses being built and not a lot of thought of where the kids will go to school. Minimal land put aside for building schools and lack of maintenance has ours schools now in disrepair.

Margaret Lorber

Candidate for School Board

District B


Occupation: Retired

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? 35 years

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? Rosemont

Website: Facebook Page: MargaretLorberforAlexandriaSchoolBoard

Other Contact Info: email [email protected]; cell phone 703-201-4804

A:           I have been involved with the Alexandria public schools since 1988—first as the parent of 2 children who received a wonderful education there and then as the Division-wide Bilingual Parent Liaison from 2006 – July, 2015. That experience combined with over 30 years working on national policy issues in the areas of child development, child nutrition and parent involvement in education has given me a deep understanding of the challenges our schools face and the steps needed to address them. My fluency in Spanish also allows me to communicate directly with the significant number of families in our community who speak that language.

B:           Enrollment has increased dramatically and our schools are bursting at the seams. Class sizes are going up and our facilities are wearing out. Teacher morale and student achievement suffer under these conditions. Further, we can only improve academic achievement by combining a rigorous curriculum with support for students, families and teachers. The community is key to addressing these problems and I am committed to broadening the constituency for the public schools so that citizens, with or without children in the schools, take pride in our schools and are willing to invest in them.

C:           The responsibility of the School Board is to present a budget that meets our students’ needs, both for operating funds and for our school buildings. The School Board must take great care to assure that City funds are used wisely and I am committed to strong budget oversight. At the same time we must educate the community about the operating and capital needs of our schools. The bottom line, though, is that the City has the resources and capacity to meet the needs of our schools, and the City’s debt is not an impediment to achieving our educational goals.

D:          This question is one of greater relevance to City Council candidates, but I believe the city needs to diversify its tax base. We should not have to raise real property taxes every time we need to increase the school budget. The City has many needs to meet, from public safety to parks to social services, but quality, well-financed schools must be at the top. We owe good education to our families, and good schools increase the attractiveness of Alexandria as a place to live which in turn has the potential to bring in more tax revenue.

Kelly Carmichael Booz

Candidate for School Board

District B


Occupation:  Partnership Development Lead, Share My Lesson, American Federation of Teachers

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? 10

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? Taylor Run

Website: Facebook Page:

Other Contact Info: Email: [email protected] Twitter: @kellycbooz

A:           I am the only incumbent running for reelection in District B and I believe continuity is important to continue the positive momentum and gains made in ACPS and tackle the areas where we need growth. Education is my profession. I have spent the last 14 years working with students, educators, and administrators from every county in the Commonwealth and from all 50 states. I want our schools to foster the greatness our children deserve, and I want to be your champion and advocate on the School Board if reelected. I would be honored to have one of your three votes.

B:           Capacity is a major challenge facing both ACPS and City Council. We are working to solve these issues through modernizing and adding classrooms to our schools and through redistricting. ACPS grew over 3,200 students since the last redistricting in 1999. While redistricting will better align students in over-crowded schools, redistricting does not solve the classroom deficit needed to solve capacity. As it stands, our current 7th graders will not fit in Minnie Howard when they reach 9th grade. We must work with city council to fund our capacity projects to ensure both space and quality educational facilities are secured.

C:           We are operating in a budget tight environment. As our city council tackles our debt, I look forward to continue working with city council and bringing forward a fiscally responsible budget for the school system that emphasizes student achievement for all students. Additionally, the schools must continue to find private-public partnerships and grants to support our schools.

D:          We need to focus our dollars on building capacity and modernizing our schools. We are at a classroom deficit in ACPS. While redistricting will solve some of these issues, it will not keep up with the growth of students enrolling in ACPS. Likewise, we have old buildings and our previous band-aid approach to fixing issues is not sustainable, nor is it a good use of tax dollars. We need to reinvest in our school buildings to build capacity and modernize our learning environments.

William E. “Bill” Campbell

Candidate for School Board

District A


Occupation: Project Engineer

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? Ten Years

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? Parker-Gray

Website:                            Facebook Page: N/A

Other Contact Info: (703) 399-9521

A:           Perseverance and strength of character. One of six siblings raised by an underemployed single, African-American mother who quit school in the 11th grade. Began working at the age of twelve – first in family to graduate college (West Virginia University) with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Have a Graduate Certificate in Paralegal Studies from Georgetown University. Married thirty-two years, daughter graduated from TC Williams and NC A&T. Natural son is a sophomore at TC and adopted son is a TC freshman. Been involved with six school districts in four states. I have the highest of expectations for ALL students.

B:           ACPS’s Top Three Challenges are: 1. Raising achievement especially in our historically under-served subgroups (Hispanic, Free and Reduced Lunch, African-American and Children with Disabilities) 2. Need to increase capacity and quality of learning/play spaces at all levels (Elementary, Middle and High School) 3. Convincing the majority of our taxpayers of the criticality of the above two challenges! We must continue working to inform our community including other elected officials. We must have trust and respect between Council and School leadership. We must also continue academic improvements so that the majority of the community builds confidence in our leadership capabilities.

C:           I respect the challenges that Council are faced with. History indicates that Council has managed our debt well. As additional people move into our city and demands for services continue to go up, I am concerned with the widening gap between the revenues and expenditures. With land owners and contractor “by right” land use allowances, folks need to be realistic as to what Council can and cannot demand from “developers”. From a revenue perspective, the mix seems about right although there will always be quibbling. As costs increase, we’ll have to share the increases across development, business, and residents.

D:          I think my comments above are about all that I care to wade into this area! This highlights why I have ZERO aspirations to be on City Council! Children cannot chose who they are born to nor can they decide whether or not they are raised in poverty, are refugees, live in a broken home, etc. We adults, as a society, owe it to our community’s children to help guide them, be positive role models, teach and prepare them to be self-sustaining and positively contributing members of our society. Research is clear that investment in our children now will return huge dividends to our future.

Hal Cardwell

Candidate for School Board

District A


Occupation: Water Resources Engineer

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? 30 years

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? Del Ray

Website: N/A                   Facebook Page: N/A

Other Contact Info: [email protected]

A:           I bring a set of characteristics, experience and expertise to my prospective service on the ACPS School Board. I’ve been a parent in ACPS for the last 11 years with kids currently at the elementary, middle and high school levels. I was PTA President at Mt Vernon elementary and on the board for 4 years. During that time my Spanish language skills allowed me engage our school’s significant Latino population. I grew up in Alexandria and was an ACPS student for 10 years (TCW 82). Hence I know first-hand the value that a great education from a diverse public school system can provide. After living in other cities, states, and countries, I came back to Alexandria to raise a family.

B:           While my kids have certainly enjoyed lots of wonderful teachers and opportunities in their years at ACPS, there are always challenges. Capacity and aging facilities are major issues. Redistricting is in motion. And while scores have gone up, there are still too many students who are falling through the cracks and not getting the most out of the opportunities available to them in ACPS. As is planned in the redistricting process, we must design a variety of engagement opportunities to meet the diverse needs of our communities and stakeholders. I look forward to applying my background in public participation and collaborative processes, as well as my deep roots in Alexandria helping to ACPS meet these challenges.

C:           I think this question is more appropriately addressed by and to the candidates for City Council and mayor.

D:          I think this question is more appropriately addressed by and to the candidates for City Council and mayor.

Karen A. Graf

Candidate for School Board

District A


Occupation: Technical Communication

How long have you been an Alexandria resident? 12 years

Which Neighborhood(s) Do You Live In? Del Ray

Website:   Facebook Page: Karen Attubato Graf

Other Contact Info: @KarenAGraf

A:           The motto of my campaign is: Process, Persistence, Performance. My goal last term was to provide support for teachers, parents, and the community as our division made rapid changes to better programs and staffing. This School Board did this by developing transparent and effective processes for executing thoughtful change and then persisting with those changes to ensure that they are accomplishing their goals. This resulted in higher performance in the district in several areas. In the next term, I would work towards three more goals: • Solve the capacity and building health issues • Continue strong recruitment • Improve and grow our communication practices

B:           First, our capacity is a top priority. We have grown by over 1600 new students since I took office three years ago. It is imperative that the next School Board solves the capacity issues. I have a goal for supporting a long-term plan that is fiscally sound, considers future growth and, above all, advances academic excellence in our school division. Secondly, with the district’s growth, our HR practices need to be supported in order to recruit, hire and develop qualified teachers and leaders in the schools and central office. Lastly, ACPS needs to develop strong communication practices, so that the community has an accurate view of what is happening in the schools.

C:           During this term, the School Board and the city work on completing a 2.5-year project for long range planning. My goal as a member of the School Board in the coming three years is to develop a fiscal plan that looks out five or ten years in both the capital and operating budgets. With good planning, elected officials can prepare a community for proper funding impacts. Currently, our city’s schools have a lot of buildings that are aging and infrastructure needs being driven by increasing populations. But what is becoming more important is how the School Board supports the operating budgets so that we can afford teachers and support staff.

D:          Schools, of course. However, I understand that there are many priorities in the city that pull at the purse strings. I do believe that this question is better directed at council candidates, as the School Board is not directly faced with having to govern over these challenges. It is clearly a balance that our City Council needs to represent on the behalf of the citizens. The School Board’s role is to manage the policies and budget of the school division. We work year-round to explain our needs to the city council and hope that they continue to invest in the growth of our school population.
















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