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Arlington School Board candidates nab endorsements from sitting chair, former administrator

Outgoing Arlington School Board chair Reid Goldstein has endorsed School Board candidate Angelo Cocchiaro in the race to replace him.

While Goldstein is the first sitting School Board member to endorse a candidate thus far, his opponent Miranda Turner was endorsed by a former top-level administrator for Arlington Public Schools.

Cocchiaro announced news of the endorsement today (Monday), less than a week after quieting talk that he was pulling out of the race. He will be going up against Turner, a second-time candidate, to gain the endorsement of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

Goldstein said Cocchiaro’s youth and lived experience will be an asset to the School Board as it tackles issues plaguing students, including drug use and mental health.

We have seen critical student issues recently surrounding mental health, safety and security, and substance abuse — with many calls for our response to include student voices. With the distinct advantage of his youth, Angelo Cocchiaro is the candidate best positioned to listen, understand, and bring student solutions to student issues. Achievement will never progress until the issues impeding learning are resolved. He will uphold, defend, and advance the progress this School Board has achieved. Angelo has my full and complete endorsement to serve as my successor on the School Board.

Cocchiaro thanked Goldstein for his endorsement in a statement. He said he supports the progressive policy stances the Goldstein and the School Board have taken on grading for equity and removing School Resource Officers.

“I stand behind the progress that has been achieved,” he said. “I have also supported this School Board’s leadership in other areas, such as when they protected school communities from a premature pandemic reopening, and resisted calls to go the other way… And yet, I will differ from this School Board in bringing my unique lived experiences to the table, and I will push progress even further.”

APS closed in March 2020 and started to reopen on a two-day-a-week hybrid basis one year later, mandated by the state and then-Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and, added more days later at the urging of the School Board. Dueling parent groups formed to advocate for a faster return and greater caution.

Turner, a parent who has been involved with local PTAs and a superintendent’s advisory committee, made a name for herself calling for a quicker return to school. One of her top priorities now is learning loss attributed to pandemic-era educational disruptions.

She was endorsed by Brian Stockton, the former Chief of Staff for Arlington Public Schools.

“In every interaction I had with her, it was clear that she was committed to the notion that every student deserves the opportunity to achieve their full potential,” he said in a statement Turner’s campaign shared with ARLnow. “She has and will continue to be a highly-involved parent and community member who puts the needs of Arlington County children first and foremost.”

His endorsement continues as follows.

Miranda has shown dedication to children at all levels that was fair and equitable, and she has continually fought to ensure APS is seeking to maintain high standards for academic achievement for every student. Her display of love for the community demonstrates a genuine concern and kindness for the well-being of the children of Arlington. It is clear to me that she possesses the mastery and skills required for effective Board management and governance.

Furthermore, Miranda possesses the temperament, knowledge and commitment to Arlington County that is required for today and the future. I believe she will be a strong asset for Arlington County parents and students, and as such she has my unfettered endorsement.

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