Just prior to its adjournment earlier this month, the Virginia General Assembly passed a resolution honoring Arlington School Board Chair Emma Violand-Sánchez. Dr. Violand-Sánchez was first elected to the School Board in November 2008. She plans to retire at the end of this year after completing her second term on the Board.
Dr. Violand-Sánchez was born in Bolivia, and has lived in Arlington since 1978. She received her B.S. and M.S. from Radford University and her doctorate in education from George Washington University.
Prior to her election to the School Board, Dr. Violand-Sánchez served for many years as an APS teacher and administrator. During that portion of her career, she developed and implemented a comprehensive English language program which has been used as a national model. She also established the first bilingual GED program in Virginia.
Dr. Violand-Sánchez retired from the APS faculty in July 2007. At the time of her retirement from the faculty, she was serving as the supervisor of the APS English for Speakers of Other Languages/High-Intensity Language Training (ESOL/HILT) program. For 11 years, she has worked as an adjunct professor of linguistics at Georgetown University.
She was instrumental in the founding of Escuela Bolivia, a student-achievement and leadership program focused on immigrant youth. That program now is known as Edu-Futuro. Through education, leadership development, and family engagement, Edu-Futuro empowers under-resourced Latino and other immigrant youth to become the next generation of professionals who can help to transform their communities.
Dr. Violand-Sánchez also is a founder and a current member of the Board of Directors of the Dream Project. The Dream Project provides scholarships, mentoring, and support to 100 promising immigrant youths, who come from 14 different countries, were educated in 22 Virginia high schools, and now attend 18 colleges and universities in seven states. In 2015, three of the first Dream Project scholars graduated, and 93% of scholarship recipients have been able to stay in college. I previously have written a column about this valuable project.
Dr. Violand-Sánchez is a member of the Board of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Arlington Committee of 100, Donaldson Run Civic Association, American Association of University Women, Arlington Retired Teachers Association, National School Boards Association, Virginia School Boards Association, the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, and a former member of the Northern Virginia Community College Board.
She has published several papers on family involvement, multicultural education, language minority education, and learning styles. She has two children, James and Julia, who are also educators and graduates of the Arlington Public Schools. They attended Key, Taylor, Williamsburg, H-B Woodlawn and Yorktown.
The General Assembly was right to recognize the many highlights in Dr. Violand-Sánchez’s distinguished career.