There is no doubt that teachers are the most critical resource to Fairfax County Public Schools. Teachers interact with, guide, mentor, and, yes, teach, almost 200,000 kids everyday. They are on the front lines, and need support and resources so they can do what they love doing: teaching. We need to empower teachers, not micromanage their daily agendas.

Teachers are professionals who are highly trained in their field; a Masters Degree is required for most teaching positions. Combine that education with a passion for the job, and there is nothing they can’t accomplish with the right support. Teachers need to be given more time for lesson planning, and shift away from time-consuming activities like data collection, reporting, and the general paperwork shuffle that detracts from a child’s classroom experience. Let’s let teachers teach, not bury them in paperwork. As a school board member, one of the questions I will continually ask is “how does this impact the teacher in the classroom?”. By viewing decisions through this lens, we can stay focused on supporting our teachers.

I believe one of the most important things a public servant can do is recognize that they do not know everything, but are willing to work with people to find out. In that spirit, I pledge to meet regularly with teachers representatives to hear their concerns, and work to get them the resources they need to do their job better. Teachers should be treated as a partner, not a resource for top down management.