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School Board Chair Monique O’Grady to Step Down in December, Says Return to School is Top Priority

School Board Chair Monique O’Grady will not be seeking reelection after her term ends this December, according to an announcement on her website.

The chair said on Sunday that she will work for a better future for all students through her term, which ends on Dec. 31, 2021. In her announcement, she said she wrote “with a heavy heart” after “much thought, consultation with my family, and careful consideration.” She declined to comment for this story.

O’Grady joined the School Board in 2018 and became chair in July 2020. She said she needs to spend her last six months as chair and her last year on the board working to reopen schools.

“We must return Arlington Public Schools to the strongest and safest new normal that can be achieved as we continue to mitigate the volatile pandemic,” she wrote. “This will require my full and undivided attention.”

O’Grady said in a different time, she would not hesitate to seek re-election, but amid the coronavirus and political unrest, her focus has to be on “returning to in-person learning as safely as possible and pushing forward our equity work.”

“This is especially important as we continue to address the impact that the pandemic has had on all our students, and in particular on those who our data shows are not progressing as well with distance learning,” O’Grady said.

She follows in the footsteps of former School Board members Tannia Talento and Nancy Van Doren, who also chose not to run for additional terms. They were replaced by Cristina Diaz-Torres and David Priddy, who were both elected in November and welcomed onto the board during the Jan. 7 School Board meeting.

O’Grady has lived in Arlington for 25 years and has been an APS parent for 19 of those years, according to her website. She and her husband Mike have three children: Mikey, a Gunston Middle School student, as well as APS graduates Caitlin and Brittany, who is an actress.

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