Last week we asked the two Arlington School Board candidates to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them on Nov. 3. One School Board seat is up for grabs this year.
We did not receive a response from B. A. “Brooklyn” Kinlay, who’s affiliated with the Independent Green Party.
Here is the unedited response from Democratic-endorsed candidate Reid Goldstein:
Experience and proven leadership are assets I will bring to the Arlington School Board if elected November 3. As an activist for our schools and community for over twenty years, I understand how both APS and the county government function. This is critical now, when the county and APS need to work more together, not in parallel, to address the challenges our schools face.
Growing enrollment magnifies the challenge of maintaining our reputation for high quality schools that makes Arlington such an enviable place to live. Enlarging school capacity requires County Board and School Board collaboration as never before to address the financing necessary for capital construction, and mitigating adverse effects on the neighborhoods. As a civic association president and president of the CPRO board, I have experience working on the design of new buildings to address issues like traffic, parking, building height and density to assure that the design protects adjacent neighbors.
APS’ challenges are not limited to buildings. The key to APS’ high quality and reputation for excellence is our teachers. We need to continue to retain and attract the best teachers, even as enrollment rises and budgets are tight. I am the son of two teachers. One of my two daughters (both educated K-12 in Arlington schools) is also a teacher. Teachers have the single greatest effect on our children’s education, and will be a top priority if elected. APS has a broad range of choices and programs, including immersion, International Baccalaureate at all school levels, the HB Woodlawn program, the Stratford program, Arlington Traditional, Montessori, New Directions, the Career Center, Thomas Jefferson High School, pre-K, special education, high school continuation, and many others. Preserving this variety, designed to meet the individual needs and aspirations of each of our students, is essential to maintaining the quality and appeal of Arlington Public Schools.
Here are some examples of my leadership roles over the years (more information is available at http://www.reidgoldstein.com/ ):
HB Woodlawn PAC. Shortly before the start of the school year, our Parent Advisory Committee chair suddenly withdrew. I stepped in, and served 3 years.
Jefferson Middle School Exemplary Project. Our committee recommended adoption of the International Baccalaureate program. Without needing substantial financial commitments, the program has transformed Jefferson, energized the faculty and engaged the students and parents as never before.
APS Strategic Plan Committee. I worked on the committee that developed, for the first time, a strategic plan for APS.
Family Network. Realizing that PTAs offered programs of interest beyond their own schools, I helped revive a collaborative network among PTAs to share knowledge and resources, inviting all school and civic communities to all PTA programs on family issues including substance abuse, gap year, and students and the law. We did not need funding increases to broaden access to these popular programs, just commitment and collaboration.
Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization. As president, I led the board of the organization that has worked to transform a fading collection of strip malls into an increasingly thriving business center, focused on quality of life for its residents.
Douglas Park Civic Association. President of the civic association for Arlington’s most populous neighborhood at a time of transition in the neighborhood and along Columbia Pike.
Housing Commission. Seeing that a stable home environment is the foundation for educational achievement, I worked on preservation of affordable housing for Arlington’s families.
Columbia Pike Land Use Study. I was a member of the steering committee guiding the work to preserve our neighborhoods, including affordable housing, along Columbia Pike, ultimately developing the Pike Neighborhoods Plan.
Glebe Road and Columbia Pike Left Turn Signals. Many will remember the days when left turns at the intersection of two of Arlington’s principal arterials required cutting through neighborhoods. Every government entity felt another was responsible for fixing the issue. With my neighbors, I brought together the county staff, VDOT, the county manager, and elected local officials and state legislators to hold them all responsible for making the solution happen. Successfully, the lanes were built and the intersection improved. But it took commitment, a willingness to hold people accountable, and knowledge of the workings of local government to make it happen.
These are examples of the leadership, experience and commitment I will bring to the Arlington School Board. I would be honored to have your vote on November 3rd.