by Michele Menapace (note by Lowell: I encourage and welcome other Democrats running for the vacant Fairfax County School Board seat to also submit statements for Blue Virginia)
I’m Michele Menapace and I’m seeking the FCDC endorsement for the special election to fill the vacancy for At-Large School Board representative. A 27-year resident of Fairfax, mother of two FCPS graduates, lifelong Democrat raised in a union baker’s home, wife, and activist. I’m proud to be endorsed by leaders in our party, including Jeff McKay (Supervisor, Lee District), Brad Center (former School Board member, Lee), Barbara Allen (Past President, Fairfax Education Association), and Alex Kirkland (Chair, Lee District Democrats).
For more than 20 years I’ve been directly connected to Fairfax County and its schools. I’ve stood shoulder-to-shoulder with advocates who successfully pushed for changes in line with Fairfax Democrats’ values and positions:
- School discipline policies that disproportionately affected minority students and those with disabilities, pushing to make discipline a restorative rather than punitive process and break the school-to-prison pipeline
- School start times that promote healthy sleep habits to make our youth better able to learn and safer on the field and behind the wheel
- School policies, especially technology, that do not hinder access for students impacted by poverty
- Procedures and regulations that expand FCPS transparency, accountability, robust community engagement and communication that is ongoing, two-way, and meaningful
I believe our schools and our county are being challenged in ways not seen in decades. The federal government is stepping back from its role to enforce civil rights protections, fund public schools, promote healthy environments, protect workers, or utilize government funds to spur job training. County leaders, including the School Board, will have to step up. Whether it’s establishing protections for LGBTQ students and staff or enacting equity practices under the OneFairfax resolution; eliminating once and for all the persistent minority student achievement gap or helping bridge the county’s affordability gap to enable access to opportunity for all children and youth. I am ready.
I’m ready to make tough decisions. I’m ready to embrace new ideas, new strategies and new partnerships that get things done. I’m ready to serve, to collaborate, to innovate, to lead.