School Board Update

July 2, 2021

Barbara Kanninen to Chair School Board

On July 1, 2021, the Arlington School Board held its annual organizational meeting for the 2021-22 school year and elected Dr. Barbara Kanninen as Chair and Reid Goldstein as Vice Chair. The terms for the new Chair and Vice Chair begin immediately and will continue until June 30, 2022.


Dr. Kanninen thanked her School Board colleagues for the opportunity to serve as Chair in the coming school year. She also thanked outgoing Chair Monique O’Grady and Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán for their leadership during the pandemic.


As the new year begins, Dr. Kanninen hopes that the community can agree on three things, “First, that we’ve all been through trauma. Second, that over the next decade and even over the next century, there will be many academic studies, books, articles and more written about whether we as nation, as a community, and as a school system made the right calls over the course of the pandemic. But third, that what matters most right now is doing right by the kids.”


She emphasized that as a community, we need to ask ourselves and students if they are all right; are they being challenged; are they finding opportunities; do they have a trusted adult to go to, and more. “These are questions we aim to ask every year, but this year, we need to ask them with a renewed sense of urgency. Our kids need to heal, and they need to move forward, socio-emotionally and academically. And we need to provide that balance to them, even as we all seek to heal and move forward ourselves.”


Dr. Kanninen discussed the work that needs to be done to bring APS back to being a fiscally healthy and sustainable school system, to build our operational efficiency and to move APS forward. She also highlighted some things to watch for this year, including:


  • A laser-focus on improving our literacy program, with special focus on our Special Ed and English Learner students;
  • The re-launch of our strategic plan dashboard, to provide transparency and renewed accountability;
  • The development of our first-ever equity profile, as we continue to promote equity, excellence, and consistency across our schools;
  • A continued focus on improving staff compensation and a plan for collective bargaining, so that we can ensure that all staff are fairly and consistently rewarded for their great work;
  • A new elementary school, new buildings, boundary refinements, a 10-year capital improvement plan; and
  • A very challenging budget season due to fluctuating revenues as a result of the pandemic.


Finally, of staff, Dr. Kanninen said, “The strength of Arlington Public Schools has always been grounded, first and foremost, in the expertise, creativity, passion, and commitment of our top-notch staff. Year-in and year-out, with or without institutional support, which has varied over the years, our staff has built, brick by brick, all that is best about Arlington Public Schools.”


About Barbara Kanninen
Dr. Kanninen joined the School Board on Jan. 1, 2015. She is a Ph.D. environmental economist, children’s book author, and school and community leader who has served on the School Board’s Early Childhood Advisory Committee, Math Advisory Committee, and the Advisory Council on Instruction, as well as the County Board’s Fiscal Affairs Advisory Committee and the Board of the Youth Ultimate League of Arlington. She is a former assistant professor at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, senior economist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Gilbert F. White Fellow at Resources for the Future. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University, a master’s from Texas A&M University and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. She and her husband Kevin have lived in Arlington for more than 25 years and have two sons, Fred and Markus, who were both K-12 Arlington Public Schools students.


About Vice Chair Reid Goldstein
Reid Goldstein joined the School Board on Jan. 1, 2016. He has lived in Arlington for over 30 years and has two daughters who graduated from APS. Goldstein has an extensive record of advocacy and volunteerism to his neighborhood, to APS and to the greater Arlington community. Prior to his election to the School Board, he served on the Advisory Council on Instruction, Superintendent’s Strategic Planning Committee, County Council of PTAs, Chair of the H-B Woodlawn Parent Advisory Committee, Arlington Civic Federation Schools Committee, and was an active member of the parent-teacher organizations in all of his children’s schools.


Next School Board Meeting:
The School Board will hold its next Regular Meeting (2110 Washington Blvd.) on Thu, July 15 at 7 p.m. The agenda will be posted one week before the meeting on BoardDocs.


For More Information:
Citizens who want to comment on any items discussed at the School Board meeting should email the Board at school.board@apsva.us or call 703-228-6015. Citizens may call 703-228-2400 on the Monday after the School Board meetings to listen to a meeting summary. School Board meetings are also broadcast live on Comcast Cable Channel 70 and Verizon FiOS Channel 41; live-streamed on the APS website, and re-broadcast on Fridays at 9 p.m. and Mondays at 7:30 p.m. immediately following the meeting. All materials and minutes will be posted to the website at www.apsva.us/schoolboard upon School Board approval at a subsequent meeting.

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