Melanie Meren won the endorsement of the Hunter Mill District Democratic Committee for school board with 80 percent of the vote on Wednesday.
The self-described Fairfax County parent leader, whose platform centers around “strong education,” is one of three candidates that were seeking the Hunter Mill District seat on the Fairfax County School Board.
“We are excited to support Melanie’s campaign for School Board and thank outgoing School Board member Pat Hynes for her many years of service to Hunter Mill, to our students and teachers,” wrote Gordon Simonett and Denver Supinger, co-chairs of the HMDDC.
Andy Sigle, former president of Reston Association’s Board of Directors, and Laura Ramirez Drain, whose campaign focuses on Family Life Education and the budget, were also running for the board seat. The seat was vacated by longtime Hunter Mill District Representative Pat Hynes in January. Meren’s endorsement bumps other candidates out of the race.
Paul Berry, Meren’s campaign manager, wrote the following about the endorsement:
Meren and her husband Drew are 14 year residents of Hunter Mill District, where their two children attend public school. After graduating with a Master’s degree in Public Policy she worked in early childhood education at the US Department of Education’s Title 1 office managing a $15 million grant program for the nation’s most underfunded schools. After leaving the Dept. of Ed she founded her own education policy firm that advocates in particular for environmental education in public schools. Her professional and personal lives overlapped in 2016 when budget cuts threatened a multi-million dollar reduction in school funding. She responded by successfully advocating for and recovering $60 million through community activism and organizing parents in Hunter Mill.
Meren won with an overwhelming 109 votes, while Sigle had 27 votes.
An official endorsement by the Fairfax County Democratic Committee is expected on May 21. Meren’s name will be on the November ballot without party identification.
Photo via Melanie Meren website
Andy Sigle, the outgoing president of the Reston Association’s Board of Directors, is running for the Hunter Mill District seat on the Fairfax County School Board.
In his announcement, he wrote:
My wife, Kim, and I have put four children through the FCPS school system, the last one graduating in 2017. I am a strong advocate of student equity and access in our public schools, support of our teachers, establishment of infrastructure that keeps up with development within our community, as well as a driver for family and community engagement and sustainability initiatives. I bring to the role more than twenty five years as a manager and executive in the telecommunications industry along with a MBA from the University of Chicago. I have a proven track record of tackling difficult situations and creating positive results through a focus on asking sensible questions, holding reasonable discussions, collaboration and collegiality. Again, I know I can make a difference on our school board and I ask for your support.
Since then, Sigle has highlighted his work as the former president of the South Lakes High School PTSA board, which included organizing a series of diversity and inclusion workshops, helping to establish the school’s food pantry and moderating a discussion between Hynes and Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins meant to educate the community.
Sigle’s bio says that he has turned his attention to community work after 28 years in the telecommunications industry.
Sigle first joined the RA’s Board of Directors in 2011 and was elected president last year. He also sings in The Reston Chorale, chairs the Southgate Community Center Advisory Council and is a member of the Reston Historic Trust’s Board of Directors.
Earlier this month, Sigle nabbed a new role as the chief operating officer and vice president of external relations for Leadership Fairfax, a nonprofit that aims to inspire private and public sector individuals to tackle community issues.
Laura Ramirez Drain and Melanie Meren are also running for the school board seat.
The Hunter Mill Democratic Committee is slated to host a candidate forum on Wednesday, April 10, at 8 p.m. at Lake Anne Elementary School (11510 N Shore Drive).
The committee also plans to hold an endorsement meeting on May 8 at Lake Anne ES.
Photo via Facebook
Family yoga — From 10:30-11 a.m. at the Reston Regional Library, families can enjoy yoga along with stories and songs with a children’s yoga instructor. The event is meant for children ages 2 to 4. Families are encouraged to bring a mat or blanket. [Fairfax County]
Herndon High School 2019 Cabaret — This year’s annual performance will include family-favorites from “Come From Away,” “Matilda,” “Waitress” and “Kinky Boots.” The show starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Herndon High School Auditorium. Tickets cost $5 for students and seniors and $10 for adults. [Herndon High School]
New case study unveils history behind “One Fairfax” — The Center for the Study of Social Policy’s 15-page study was released on Jan. 22 to present an overview of the decades-long process and the milestones that led to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and School Board adopting the “One Fairfax” policy in November 2017. [Fairfax County]
Reston care merger — Reston’s Clinical Care Options has merged with Greenwich, Conn.-based Practicing Clinicians Exchange. [citybizlist]
With the incumbent stepping down, two candidates are running for the Hunter Mill District seat on the Fairfax County School Board.
Earlier in January, Hunter Mill District Representative Pat Hynes said that she won’t seek re-election. Her term expires at the end of 2019.
Laura Ramirez Drain’s campaign is focused on the Family Life Education curriculum, school boundaries and the FCPS budget. Melanie Meren, a self-described “Fairfax County parent leader,” wants to promote “strong education.”
Both Meren and Drain point to their experiences as parents of children who are either currently attending or went to Fairfax County public schools as one of the reasons why they are running for the seat.
Drain said on her website that “running for school board means for her protecting the children and the community while also guiding them to stand up and speak out for what they believe in.”
Meren’s website says that “after years of advocating as a parent and professional in education policy and communications, she believes she can accomplish more as an elected leader. She wants to advance solutions that evolve our system to meet the needs of our students and communities now — and plan for future expected needs.”
Meren’s career has focused on education public policy and programming. She worked at the U.S. Department of Education and as an independent communications consultant at MKM Strategies.
Meren has also been involved with advocacy and community organizations.
She began co-leading the #IamFCPS grassroots campaign after a $75 million budget cut hit FCPS in 2015. The campaign secured $60 million of the proposed cuts, resulting in educator pay increases and measures to help address growing class sizes, according to her website. She is also currently a member of the Fairfax County School Board’s Human Resources Advisory Committee.
Drain has more than 20 years of sales experience with information technology products and solution-based services, including with Verizon and AT&T. She is also the chief executive officer and founder of Random Words Marketing Group. She relocated from Mexico to the U.S. in 1999 with the Hewlett-Packard Corp. and became a U.S. citizen in 2008, according to her website.
Since 2011, she has produced and hosted “Cafe Latino Radio,” a bilingual talk radio show, and in 2015, she launched Cafe Latino TV — both shows focused on sharing success stories from small business owners and people from local nonprofits over a cup of coffee.
This Saturday (Jan. 26) she plans to host a “meet and greet” from 3-5 p.m. at Glory Days Grill (1400 North Point Village Center).
Hunter Mill District Representative Pat Hynes announced today (Jan. 9) that she won’t seek reelection to the Fairfax County School Board.
Hynes has been a member of the 12-member board for the last seven years. Previously, she was an elementary school teacher in the county’s public schools from 2002 to 2011 and has worked as a lawyer with Simpson, Thacher and Bartlett in New York City and community organizer, according to her bio.
The announcement arrived in her newsletter. In one section, she wrote:
As you may know, my current term as your school board member expires at the end of 2019. It has been the privilege of a lifetime to represent the welcoming, resilient, creative people of Hunter Mill for the last seven years. But I’ve decided not to seek reelection after this term. My first calling is the classroom and I’ve been teaching full time in Arlington these last two years. (The law does not allow me to serve on the board and teach in FCPS at the same time.) I was hopeful that I might be able to balance the time commitments of both jobs, but it really is not reasonable and I find myself stretched too thin too often. I look forward to the next year of work and progress on your behalf, but I also think it’s time for someone else to step up. I’m sure we will all be engaged in the November election and I have no doubt Hunter Mill will choose an excellent new school board member.
Her term expires at the end of 2019.
Until then, she outlined in her newsletter several school board issues on her radar, including climate change and equity.
With Virginia’s General Assembly starting today, Hynes said “we are fortunate here in Hunter Mill to have state representatives who fight for public education and other critical needs of families and communities.”
It’s that time of year again: Fairfax County Public Schools will begin the new school year on August 28. Ahead of the new academic year, a “Back 2 School Bash” with one-stop-shop resources for getting ready to go back to school will be held on Aug. 18 at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive).
The event, which is free and open to all ages, will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Local schools, government agencies and nonprofit providers will be on-site to provide information about resources, programs and services offered by community agencies and through other partnerships.
The bash is cosponsored by FCPS, Cornerstones, Reston Community Center, YMCA Reston, and Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Service.
For more information, contact LaTanja Jones, Collaboration and Outreach Director, at 703-390-6158, or [email protected].
Day camps at Reston Association — Slots are available for RA’s day camps, which are offered in three sessions. The camp is geared toward children between the ages of 7 and 11. [Reston Association]
Tonight: Fun around town with community fitness — Celebrate the beginning of summer with a free community fitness activity tonight at Stonegate Community Center from 5:30-6:30 p.m. [Reston Community Center]
Summerbration with King Teddy — Enjoy a concert at the Reston Station Plaza featuring swing music by King Teddy tonight from 7-9 p.m. Swing dangers will offer free instruction. [Reston Community Center]
Happening nearby: sex education policy — “Parents are protesting a proposed new sex education policy in Fairfax County. Those opposed to it say the new curriculum would promote transgender issues and encourage the use of contraceptives instead of abstinence.” [FOX 5 DC]
Photo by Ruth Sievers
Reston’s DRB Meets Tonight — Among items on the Design Review Board’s agenda are specific aspects of the upcoming redevelopment of Tall Oaks Village Center. [Reston Now]
Children’s Art on Display at RCC — The mixed media exhibit “The World in the Eyes of Children” is on display at Reston Community Center (2310 Colts Neck Road) until Nov. 5. [Reston Community Center/Instagram]
Body Camera Pilot Program Proposed by FCPD — If approved by the county Board of Supervisors next month, officers in the Mason and Mount Vernon districts may begin the 90-day program as early as February. [Fairfax Times]
New School in Herndon To Be Discussed — The Hunter Mill Land Use Committee will meet tonight at 7:30 p.m. at McNair Elementary School (2499 Thomas Jefferson Drive, Herndon). To be discussed is a proposal from the Fairfax County Board of Education to construct a new three-story school building on the site. McNair Elementary currently serves grades K-6. In the plan, the existing school would serve K-3 and the new building would take grades 4-6. [Hunter Mill Highlights]
Seahawks Up One in Post Poll — Following their 44-0 win over Washington-Lee last week, the South Lakes High School football team settles in at No. 13 in the area rankings. They had been ranked No. 14 the previous week. The 6-1 Seahawks return home Friday night to play McLean. [Washington Post]
Karen Keys-Gamarra Wins School Board Seat — The candidate, backed by the Democratic party, received nearly 64 percent of the 70,198 votes cast (10.4 percent voter turnout). In the Hunter Mill District, Keys-Gamarra took almost 72 percent of the vote. The At-Large term to which she was elected runs through 2019. [Fairfax County/Karen Keys-Gamarra]
D.C. Congresswoman Calls for Metro Board to Step Down — U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), ranking member of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), has called on current members of Metro’s Board of Directors to resign to make way for the smaller five-member temporary board recommended by former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. [Eleanor Norton]
FCPS Changing Policy on Teachers Who Admit Sexual Transgression — Dr. Scott Brabrand, the new superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools, says FCPS will more promptly notify state officials about teachers who admit sex offenses to ensure those teachers are unable to find teaching positions in other school districts. [NBC Washington]
New Local Platform Matches Families with Nannies — cNanny, a hyperlocal web platform that matches families with nannies, is launching in McLean, Vienna, Falls Church, Tysons Corner and Reston. [McLean Patch]
Hook Road Meeting Tonight — The first community meeting on the establishment of the Hook Road Working Group and to discuss the pending project at the recreation area will be tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). [Reston Now]
Vote Today for County School Board Seat — Polls are open until 7 p.m. for the special election to fill an At-Large seat on the Fairfax County School Board. [Reston Now]
South Lakes High School Sports Schedule — The SLHS volleyball and golf teams have matchups tonight. Other sports including field hockey, cross country and football will go up against competition later this week. [South Lakes High School]
Lake Anne Brew House Owner Touts Women in Brewing — Melissa Romano, owner of Lake Anne Brew House, was one of speakers at the “She Can Brew It” series, dedicated to women who brew and own breweries, Saturday night in Alexandria. [Mash the Patriarchy]
Digital Services Provider Moves to Reston — Octo Consulting Group has moved from Tysons Corner to a new 25,000-square-foot headquarters at 10780 Packridge Blvd. Octo has about 350 employees, 130 of whom have been hired in the past 18 months. [Washington Exec]
A vacant At-Large seat on the Fairfax County School Board will be filled in a special election Tuesday. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The position is nonpartisan; however, two candidates have been supported by political parties:
- Chris S. Grisafe: Supported by the Fairfax County Republican Committee. Has served as an appointed member of the FCPS School Bonds Committee, Superintendent’s Business Advisory Committee and Adult Education Advisory Committee. (Website)
- Karen A. Keys-Gamarra: Supported by the Fairfax County Democratic Committee. Endorsed by the Fairfax Education Association, the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers and the Washington Post editorial board. (Website)
The other candidates on the ballot are:
- Sandra D. Allen, the Minority Achievement Program Representative at James Madison High School (Candidate Statement)
- Michael H. Owens, a former teacher and PTA member (Facebook page)
For more information about each of the candidates, go to their websites or check out the video from a League of Women Voters candidates’ forum last week in McLean. (Allen did not participate in the forum.)
The special election was necessitated after Jeannette Hough, who was elected to the Board in 2015, stepped down from the position effective June 1. The term will run through the end of December 2019.
Voting will take place in each of the county’s 243 precincts. Officials remind voters that 160 of the precincts are in schools, which will be in session. While they will be open all day, those voters are encouraged to visit the booth before or after school hours.
To find your polling place, visit the Virginia Department of Elections website.
Silver Line Only Running To Ballston — There will be no trains Saturday or Sunday between Foggy Bottom and Federal Triangle. This means Silver Line trains are only scheduled to run between Wiehle-Reston East and Ballston, where riders can transfer will need to transfer to the Orange Line to continue their trips. [WTOP]
DMV Looking at Change in Renewal Reminders — About 120,000 customers who have online DMV accounts, and whose vehicle registrations expire in October, will receive a yellow postcard as a renewal reminder instead of full-size packets. The state DMV is testing the efficiency of the change in an attempt to save costs. [Virginia DMV]
Former Local Teacher, Administrator Has New Job — Jennifer Hertzberg is taking over this year as the principal of Flint Hill Elementary School in Vienna. Among Hertzberg’s previous jobs were as a teacher at Floris Elementary School and an assistant principal at Forest Edge Elementary School. [Inside NoVa]
SLHS Grad Takes Football Coaching Position — Former South Lakes High School gridiron star Chris Royal, who had a stellar career playing at Marshall University, will be working this season as the cornerbacks coach at Morehead State University in Kentucky. Royal is also the older brother of NFL wide receiver Eddie Royal. [The Morehead News]
Time to Go Back to School — Pat Hynes, Hunter Mill District representative on the Fairfax County School Board, has issued a video statement welcoming students and their families to the 2017-18 school year. [YouTube]
School Board Vote Approaches — The special election to fill a vacancy for at-large Fairfax County School Board position through the end of 2019 is Tuesday. The last day to absentee vote in person will be Saturday at the Fairfax County Government Center. [Fairfax County]
Blood Drive Slated for Monday — The Inova Blood Donor Services bloodmobile will be at Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive) from 1:30-6 p.m. Monday. All donors will receive a free T-shirt. [Inova Blood Donor Services]
Future One Reston Town Center Building Showcased — Real-estate developer Akridge is promoting its 23-story One Reston Town Center building, coming to the corner of Reston Parkway and Bowman Towne Drive, near the Spectrum shopping center. It will feature 420,000 square feet of office space and 15,000 square feet of retail. Check out the specifics in a Washington Business Journal ad. [WBJ]
IT Solutions Company Comes to Reston — Govplace, a leading solutions provider for the public sector, has expanded its operations with the opening of a new 14,367-square foot office in Reston. The office space is located at 11111 Sunset Hills Road, Suite 200. [Govplace]
Enjoy the Eclipse! — Remember to keep your eyes safe as you check out the celestial display this afternoon. If you take any photos during the event, share them with us at [email protected] and we will consider publishing them this afternoon. [Fairfax County/YouTube]
New Labor Day Pool Hours — Lake Audubon, Lake Newport, North Shore and Ridge Heights pools will be open Labor Day weekend, until 7 p.m. each day. [Reston Association]
In-Custody Death at Adult Detention Center — A 46-year-old male inmate was found unresponsive at about 7:30 p.m. Friday, and he was pronounced dead about 45 minutes later at Fairfax Hospital. An investigation is underway. [Fairfax County Police Department]
School Board Candidates’ Forum This Week — A special election to fill the vacant At-Large seat on the Fairfax County School Board is Aug. 29. A candidate forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area, is scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at McLean High School. [LWVFA]
Reston Station Building Lights Get Thumbs Up — Last week, we asked what you think about the new lighting on the 1900 Metro Plaza building. Nearly three-fifths of our readers said they like the color-changing display; while only about a quarter said they don’t. [Reston Now]
‘Turn Around, Don’t Drown’ — With heavy rains expected today and Saturday, the possibility of flash flooding exists. County officials are reminding residents that cars should not be driven through flooded roadways. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]
Police Seek Suspect in Vienna Stabbing — Fairfax County Police have been searching since Thursday morning for the suspect in a stabbing that took place near the Vienna Metro station. The victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The suspect is a male of unknown race, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, with a medium build, and a light- to medium-brown complexion. He was wearing a black, hooded shirt pulled over his head. [Fairfax County Police Department]
Deadline for Cardboard Boat Registration Nears — The first Lake Anne Cardboard Boat Regatta is coming up Aug. 12, and the last day to get a boat registered for the event is Tuesday. [Reston Museum]
New Name Coming for J.E.B. Stuart High — By 2019, the Falls Church school named after a Confederate general will have its name changed. The Fairfax County School Board voted last night to make it happen. [NBC Washington]
Connolly: Trump’s Boy Scout Speech Shameful — In a letter to the national president of the Boy Scouts of America, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) says the BSA should denounce the speech President Trump gave recently at the National Scout Jamboree. Connolly says Trump’s politicized rhetoric “directly contradicted the spirit of Scouting and the tenets of Boy Scout Law.” [The Hill]
Synthetic Soccer Field Coming to Great Falls — The $1.3 million project at Great Falls Nike Park (1089 Utterback Store Road) includes the conversion of an existing grass field to a synthetic turf field, a trail, storm drainage facilities, landscaping, field lighting and related improvements. [Fairfax County Park Authority]