by Shaista Keating (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)
Shaista Keating is running for the At-Large seat on the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) School Board, which will be filled in a special election this summer. Ms. Keating led the successful campaign Fairfax for Full Day Kindergarten to give kids a strong start to their education. John Foust, Dranesville District Supervisor, notes, “Shaista Keating brought our community together to implement Full Day Kindergarten in all Fairfax County Public Schools in just 6 months. She impressed me with her ability to collaborate across the aisle and to unite several interest groups in her fight for kids. She received unanimous support from the FCPS School Board and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Shaista’s commitment to public education is admirable.”
“We cannot wait for anybody to learn on the job when it comes to the complex and important issues in education today,” said Ms. Keating. “Our children need someone who will immediately stand on the front lines to champion the fundamental importance of education in our community.”
Ms. Keating decided to run for the seat because she is passionate about education. “Public education is an American value,” she says. “We cannot back down against those who seek to weaken our educational system, against those who do not understand the importance of investing in our children. Education is a vital investment in the future for all of us.”
Having developed the FCPS strategy for 21st Century Learning, Ms. Keating is committed to preparing students to become critical thinkers and innovators. She also served on the Superintendent’s committee for the ‘Portrait of a Graduate.’ She believes “transformation in education is possible when the community comes together for kids.”
Jennifer Boysko, Delegate 86th District, says, “Shaista Keating and I have worked together on education policy starting in 2010. She has helped drive not only Fairfax County’s 21st century skills initiative but also propelled this important work at the state-level. Shaista’s researched-based ideas deliver viable solutions to improve the Commonwealth’s education system.”
Ms. Keating worked as a teacher, has school board experience and is a business innovation expert. When her family was posted overseas she served on the American Embassy School Board, helping bring transformation and innovation to that school. As an executive at Accenture, Ms. Keating was a management consultant advising Fortune 500 companies. “I have direct experience turning around large organizations that might otherwise be stymied by outdated thinking,” says Ms. Keating. Additionally, she has taught at Georgetown University and honors the teacher-student relationship in the classroom.
Ms. Keating has served as a volunteer in several education committees across Fairfax County. She has served in leadership roles in parent teacher associations: She is the co-chair of the STEAM committee at Silverbrook Elementary School and served as the Chair of the PTSA Nominations Committee at TJHSST. She has also served as the co-chair of the County-wide Human Relations Advisory Committee (HRAC), encouraging positive interactions and collaborative learning for all FCPS children. Her work at the HRAC was honored by the FCPS School Board in November.
“Shaista has been a champion for all kids in Fairfax County. As co-chair of the School Board Human Relations Advisory Committee, Shaista presented innovative ideas to encourage positive interactions across the district. Shaista models an authentic spirit of collaboration and sincere respect for the diversity within our schools. She fosters relationships that encourage participation of all school stakeholders through ongoing dialogue between students, parents, teachers and leaders. It is my pleasure to endorse Shaista Keating for the at-large school board race,” shares Dalia Palchik, Fairfax County School Board Member, Providence District.
Ms. Keating has devoted over a decade to further education. “For many years, I’ve counted on Shaista as an education advocate, a supporter, and most importantly, a friend. She has proven her commitment to Fairfax County Public Schools. We know her accomplishments. She is an education advocate that gets things done. I’m proud to endorse her as our next Fairfax County School Board member at-large,” notes Chap Petersen, Senator 34th District. Shaista is the mother of two daughters who currently attend FCPS schools.