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by Dave Emke October 17, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

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]

by Dave Emke August 30, 2017 at 9:00 am 4 Comments

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 NanniescNanny, a hyperlocal web platform that matches families with nannies, is launching in McLean, Vienna, Falls Church, Tysons Corner and Reston. [McLean Patch]

by Dave Emke August 29, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

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]

by Dave Emke August 28, 2017 at 4:15 pm 2 Comments

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. GrisafeSupported 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-GamarraSupported 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.

by Dave Emke August 25, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

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]

by Dave Emke August 23, 2017 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

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]

by Dave Emke August 21, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

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]

by Dave Emke July 28, 2017 at 9:00 am 10 Comments

‘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]

by Dave Emke July 7, 2017 at 4:00 pm 11 Comments

Four people will have their names on the ballot for an August election to fill an At-Large vacancy on the Fairfax County School Board.

Challengers for the seat include Chris S. Grisafe, supported by the Fairfax County Republican Committee; and Karen A. Keys-Gamarrasupported by the Fairfax County Democratic Committee. Sandra D. Allen and Michael H. Owens will also be on the ballot.

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.

Prospective voters must be registered by Aug. 15 to be eligible to vote in the Aug. 29 election.

by Dave Emke June 15, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

RA Slates Community Meeting — As a follow-up to the recently held district meetings, Reston Association will host a community-wide meeting for residents at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 28 at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). Feedback from the four prior meetings will be discussed. [Reston Association]

Open At-Large Seat on School Board — A special election will be held Tuesday, Aug. 29, to fill a vacancy on the Fairfax County School Board. The At-Large seat, vacated by Jeannette Hough last month, has a remaining term through Jan. 1, 2020. The filing deadline for prospective candidates is Friday, June 30. [Fairfax County Office of Elections]

Update in Substitute Teacher Solicitation Case — John Torre, public information officer for Fairfax County Public Schools, told Reston Now that a man charged earlier this week with soliciting a young girl for sex worked as a substitute teacher for FCPS for four days at two schools, and he is no longer a FCPS employee. The alleged solicitation did not involve any FCPS students, Torre added. [Reston Now]

by Jennifer van der Kleut December 15, 2016 at 1:45 pm 0

FCPS School BusMore money for teacher salary increases and less state-mandated testing are among the Fairfax County School Board’s legislative priorities for 2017, members announced Wednesday.

Each year, the school board pinpoints a number of important education issues it plans to advocate for in regards to state legislation. For 2017, officials said that they are honing in on a few key issues that they want to focus on when advocating for Fairfax County families with school-age children.

When it comes to funding, school board members said they would like Virginia to allocate previously promised money for teacher salary increases — funding that was taken away earlier this year due to state budget shortfalls.

“Reinstating state funding for teacher salary increases would bring an additional $12 million over the biennium in state funds back to Fairfax,” said school board member Ryan McElveen, who serves as the county’s state legislative liaison.

One of the larger positions the school board plans to take in 2017 is that local school boards should receive more flexibility and autonomy when it comes to designing instructional programs, including how many tests students have to take each year.

School board members said they plan to advocate for what they call “multiple paths to graduation.” Specifically, they said they would like to provide students with more opportunities “to explore their career interests” in preparation for secondary education.

School board members also said they plan to advocate for fewer state-mandated tests and evaluations required of students, to ensure “a balanced assessment system that helps to inform instruction.”

The Fairfax County School Board’s full report on its 2017 legislative priorities is here.

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by RestonNow.com October 16, 2015 at 9:30 am 26 Comments

Mark WilkinsonOak Hill consultant Mark Wilkinson is one of two candidates running for the Fairfax County Public Schools Hunter Mill school board seat. Reston Now is running Q-and-As with both candidates. Incumbent Pat Hynes’ responses were published earlier this week.

The two candidates will participate in a forum in Reston on Oct. 24. The election is Nov. 3.

Reston Now: Why do you want to serve on the school board?

MW: First and foremost, I’m a dad of a recent graduate of FCPS, and concerned, as all of us are, that our Fairfax County school system risks losing its status as a world-class system. And in my over 20 years residing in Fairfax County, I’ve seen some very disturbing trends in large class sizes, mismanagement of the FCPS budget, and a “we know best” attitude from the School Board.

My desire to serve on the FCPS School Board stems from my desire to give something back to the Fairfax County community, put our children first, and use my 35 years budget experience to turn around the FCPS budget. I want to re-establish the community’s trust in the School Board as advocates for our children.

RN: What makes you uniquely qualified to serve the school board?

MW: I’m not a politician, yet it doesn’t take a politician to see that this school board needs financial expertise and strong leadership to fix its $75-100M budget deficit. Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is the 10th largest school system in the United States, and it requires strong leadership and people who know how to manage government programs, and who understand policy, budgets, strategy, and contracts. These are the key activities of a school board member.

I have 35 years as a public servant doing just that – managing budgets five times the size of FCPS’s budget, establishing policy, setting strategic direction that crossed multiple federal agencies. I will demand accountability and transparency, and ask the hard questions that are necessary to ensure that FCPS does not lose its status as a world-class school system.

RN: What are the three biggest concerns you have about FCPS?

MW: My plan is simple — reduce class size, fix the budget, increase teacher compensation, and close the achievement gap — which will improve the lives of ALL FCPS children. And as an independent and non-partisan advocate for our children, teachers, and the taxpayers of Fairfax County, I will do what is right for all children of Fairfax County — to improve their education, their quality of life, their future.

We need to improve student/teacher ratios because part of being responsive to the needs of children is a lower student-to-teacher ratio in overcrowded classrooms. The more interaction a teacher has with each student, the better the student will comprehend and retain what is taught. Unfortunately, over 50 percent of our Hunter Mill District elementary schools have had the largest class sizes in the county for the past several years.

The current FCPS School Board’s failure, to date, to remedy our children’s class size disparity — despite an overwhelming need to do so — is an issue I intend to address. Many current school board members distort the facts by talking about decreasing the classes across the entire FCPS when only 20 percent of the schools need reduction. Hunter Mill schools happen to be in that situation. (more…)

by RestonNow.com October 14, 2015 at 3:00 pm 19 Comments

FCPS School Board member Pat HynesPat Hynes, first elected to the Fairfax County School Board in 2011, is running for re-election to the Hunter Mill seat on the board.

Reston Now sent questionnaires to Hynes and her opponent, Mark Wilkinson. Wilkinson’s has not yet been returned. The two candidates will participate in a forum in Reston on Oct. 24. The election is Nov. 3.

RN: Why do you want to serve on the school board?

PH: I am very grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to represent the Hunter Mill District on the school board for the past four years. My experience as the mother of two FCPS graduates, an FCPS teacher, a lawyer, and a community leader have served me well on the board and, I hope, have served the community well.

The current board has accomplished a good deal, including: later high school start times; full-day elementary Mondays; elementary class size caps; student-centered discipline reform; improvements in literacy and special education instruction; a comprehensive independent efficiency audit; and the hiring of the first-ever auditor general who reports directly to the school board.

Under this board’s direction, FCPS has taken a leadership role in the state and national conversation about better assessments, moving away from the high-stakes test score chase that has for too long dominated classroom instruction.

We have continuing challenges, however, including persistent achievement gaps, class sizes that are still too high in some schools, growing needs for space, and teacher pay that is not keeping pace in the region. Thanks to the efforts of the current board and Superintendent Karen Garza, I see progress on those and other challenges, and I hope the people of Hunter Mill will give me the opportunity to continue this important work.

RN:  What makes you uniquely qualified to serve the school board?

PH: As the only member of the current 12-member school board who has worked as a teacher in FCPS, I am uniquely suited to understand the interests of our employees. My colleagues on the board are very supportive of teachers, which I appreciate, but my time in the classroom gives me the experience to anticipate concerns and ask relevant questions. Having taught in both Vienna and Reston, I also have a network of local teachers and school-based administrators who know that I value their opinions and understand their needs.

(more…)

by Karen Goff October 12, 2015 at 3:00 pm 0

"I voted" sticker. (Photo via Flickr/vox efx)A Hunter Mill District forum on Tuesday will include candidates for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair, as well as the group of candidates running for At-Large school board seats.

The event is at 7 p.m. at James Madison High Schools, 2500 James Madison Dr., Vienna.

The event will feature a meet-and-greet, as well as a question-and-answer session.

Read more about the candidates by clicking on their names below.

In the Board of Supervisors Chair race, incumbent Sharon Bulova (D), is being challenged by Arthur G. Purves (R),and Glenda Gail Parker (I).

The At-Large School Board candidates are:

Robert E. “Bob” Copeland

Jeanette M. Hough

Manar A. Jean-Jacques

Peter M. Marchetti

Burnette G. Scarboro

Omar M. Fateh

Ryan L. McElveen (Incumbent)

Ilryong Moon (Incumbent)

Theodore J. “Ted” Velkoff (Incumbent)

This event is sponsored by: the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area, the American Association of University Women of Virginia, the Fairfax County Council of Parent Teacher Associations, the Voice of Vietnamese Americans, and the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

A similar event with Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (running unopposed) and Hunter Mill School Board candidates Pat Hynes (incumbent) and Mark Wilkinson will take place at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods Oct. 24 at 2 p.m.

by Karen Goff October 2, 2015 at 1:00 pm 2 Comments

FCPS School Board member Pat HynesMark Wilkinson In Reston’s only contested race this fall, Fairfax County School Board’s Hunter Mill representative Pat Hynes will face challenger Mark Wilkinson, an Oak Hill tech consultant.

The entire FCPS school board is up for re-election in the Nov. 3 race. There are nine candidates running for three At-Large seats.

The League of Women Voters is sponsoring a Hunter Mill Candidates Forum on Oct. 24 at 2 p.m. at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods.

Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, who is running unopposed for re-election, will also be at the event.

Hynes, of Reston, is a former lawyer and teacher who has served on the board since 2012. She is the current board chair.

“Maintaining Fairfax County Public Schools’ world-class reputation in the twenty-first century demands visionary leadership,” Hynes says on her website. “This community expects its schools to be the best. We are preparing our students for careers that do not yet exist. What we know for sure is that our graduates will have to be flexible, creative problem-solvers who collaborate well and have strong communication skills. We must continue to build a culture that innovates from the classroom, supports our world class educators and sets high expectations for every student.”

Wilkinson says on his website he is concerned about FCPS’ budget, class sizes, and other issues.

“I believe that the children of Fairfax County must come first with any decisions made by the school establishment, particularly the School Board,” says Wilkinson. “I am well suited to be an independent and non-partisan advocate for children and sound education.

“As a parent, I know that no one knows a child and his/her needs as well as a parent. I have been troubled by the appearance, the current Board has given, that it has a disregard for parent knowledge and involvement.  There is no room for a “we know best” attitude from the School Board.”

Photos: Pat Hynes (left) and Mark Wilkinson (right).

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