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School Board Chair Cristina Diaz-Torres is not running for reelection

Arlington School Board Chair Cristina Diaz-Torres during the Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023 (via Cristina Diaz-Torres/YouTube)

(Updated at 2:50 p.m.) Arlington School Board Chair Cristina Diaz-Torres will not be seeking re-election.

Diaz-Torres, who became chair this July, announced the decision last night (Wednesday) at the Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting, to a chorus of dismay from some meeting attendees.

Her term on the School Board ends on Dec. 31, 2024. She is the second sitting member to announce this year a decision not to seek reelection, following Reid Goldstein, whose term ends this month.

Diaz-Torres ran in 2020, securing the endorsement of Arlington Democrats in June and a place on the School Board that November.

She was sworn in on Jan. 1, 2021, amid “truly wild uncertainty,” when schools were still shut down and a vaccine was not yet widely available, she told local Democrats.

“Just three years later, our world looks a lot brighter,” she said, per a recording of her speech she posted on social media.

“As a part of this job, I spend a lot of time talking to staff, especially school leaders, and the sentiment I hear over and over again is how different this year feels,” she continued. “It’s not a return to the before times we were all longing for, but to the after times: something new, something different, something that we were longing for all those months.”

Diaz-Torres reflected on several changes APS made during her tenure — many of which garnered applause from meeting attendees — and credited staff, Superintendent Francisco Durán and his cabinet and the School Board for this work.

The school system changed its approach to reading instruction, one she says has narrowed Arlington’s achievement gap and identified more students for extra help, she said.

She added that the School Board removed School Resource Officers from school grounds, reintroduced collective bargaining for employees and increased teacher compensation across pay scales.

“I am proud of the initiatives we have undertaken, I am proud of the policies we have implemented, and I am proud of the positive changes we have brought to our schools,” she said on social media. “We have strived to create an APS that serves ALL students by name, strength, and need.”

That work must continue, her statement continued, but under new leadership.

“This chapter will forever hold a special place in my heart and will be among the most significant and impactful work I’ve ever done,” she said. “This next chapter will look a little different but I look forward to bearing witness to the continued success of @APSVirginia.”

Her next chapter includes taking on the role of being “mom to a future APS grad in the class of 2042,” she told Democrats. The outgoing School Board chair announced her pregnancy on social media last month.

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