Moon, McElveen, Velkoff Win At-Large School Board Race

Seven candidates vied for three countywide spots

In one of the most watched Fairfax County races this season, Ilryong Moon, Ryan McElveen and Ted Velkoff walked away with victories in the at-large school board race Tuesday night.

It was the "most intense" Fairfax County School Board race in years, and also among the largest. Seven candidates sought the board's three at-large seats, two of them vacated by incumbents wh chose not to seek re-election.

But more than 11 candidates by the When , some candidates without party endorsements, though Steve Stuban was to make it to Election Day.

Candidates seemed driven by "big picture" issues that, in some cases, drew alliances across party lines, said Virginia Board of Education member Christian Braunlich, a former school board member, in an interview.

Particularly in the at-large race, all seven candidates landed on the same page on a number of different issues. Throughout the campaign season, all tended to think the board needs a better independent audit, all wanted to create an ombudsman position and all wanted to improve the relationship with parents and teachers.

Those goals attracted an untraditional group of candidates. 

Save incumbent Ilryong Moon, Democrat-endorsed Ted Velkoff, the former president of Chantilly High School's PTSA who also serves on a school board advisory council, and Republican-endorsed Sheree Brown-Kaplan, who worked on special education committees of the school board and Fairfax County Council of PTAs, many of the candidates did not have local PTA leadership experience or a track record voters could consider.

Instead, they touted other business and educational experience in an effort to appeal to voters looking for a "fresh perspective." Lolita Mancheno-Smoak is a business executive and online professor. McElveen is a Chinese language instructor and recent product of who has worked overseas and advocated for academic reform. Tea party favorite Lin-Dai Kendall is a small business owner and architect.

Stuban, an Army veteran employed by the Department of Defense, entered the race after sparked by , but he also became a symbol for the parent voice and community link some voters said they felt the school board lacked.

McElveen said many said his age might work against him, he thought it actually attacted voters looking for a new voice on the board.

He said having the support of party volunteers, particularly on election day, helped make a difference -- and may have been the major difference for Stuban.

"He ran a very impressive campaign, he was a great candidate" McElveen said. "But he didn't have [the same kind of] support."

Velkoff said a "more informed electorate" was the difference in his race.

Unofficial county results for the at-large race are below. Check Patch later for a look at how Tuesday's elections affected the school board as a whole.

School Board At Large

Sheree A. Brown-Kaplan 78,868 16% Precincts Reporting:
    234 of 239 (98%)
Lin-Dai Y. Kendall 61,153 12%
Lolita I. Mancheno-Smoak 67,688 14%
Ryan L. McElveen 83,998 17%
Ilryong Moon (Incumbent)
89,060 18%
Steven M. F. Stuban 36,226 7%
Theodore J. "Ted" Velkoff 82,299 16%

Source: Fairfax County Board of Elections

Will Radle November 14, 2011 at 05:02 PM
What do you think would happen if no one was handing out sample ballots at an election? Imagine voters making informed decisions, doing their homework. Obviously, both major parties hand out sample ballots for a reason. It's not because voters are happy. To the contrary, most people are displeased, many are angry at the direction politicians are taking our nation. People are not pleased with the insularity, division and power politics of our current culture. People do not feel heard. Working across politicial lines to provide alternatives, I remain focused on creating effective, sustainable solutions to the challenges confronting our community. A. Will Radle, Jr. Creating a Culture of Listening http://fairfaxstation.patch.com/blog_posts/creating-a-culture-of-listening FairfaxAdvocates@gmail.com http://YouTube.com/WillRadle1
Mozart November 14, 2011 at 11:35 PM
McElveen simply worked much harder during the campaign than the Republican candidates. Brown-Kaplan was a no-show at several events to which the At-Large candidates were invited. Kendall's views were too far to the right to appeal to most Fairfax voters. Mancheno-Smoak failed to convey a clear and consistent message in plain English. Stuban might have been a stronger candidate, but failed to obtain a Republican endorsement. I think you will be surprised by Ryan's independence and diligence but in any event blaming his election on "blind faith" is misguided. Disappointed Republicans need to look at the strength of the candidates they are fieldings and stop insulting local citizens after the results are in if they want to fare better in future elections.
warwick November 15, 2011 at 02:42 AM
I'm not a Republican. I'm a disappointed Democrat who believes the party did our kids and our school system a disservice in the At-Large candidates it fielded. (Maria Allen and Jeannie Armstrong would have been far better candidates in experience, knowledge and background.) It's an insult to the efforts of the other candidates to claim McElveen worked harder and spreading misinformation about Brown-Kaplan doesn't help your argument, Mozart. Go back and read all the press accounts of the various forums and you'll find her all but one that was covered. The bottom line is that she ran to ensure at least one School Board member understands special education and the needs of students with disabilities. Being the parent of one of those kids, I know that perspective is sorely lacking on the School Board. While this specific population and the quality of special education services in FCPS may not be high on your list, many of us felt her expertise was needed and she nearly beat out Velkoff for the third place position with the almost 81,500 votes she received from members of both parties.
Joette Bailey November 27, 2011 at 05:06 AM
I retired 2 years ago after teaching English in FCPS schools FOR FORTY YEARS! Unfunded requirements such as the S.O.L. testing, are a waste of time and resources. Some teachers and administrators are waaaay too flexible to avoid parental outrage if the kid screws up. That is such a mistake. Most staff do a great job. The single worst thing about FCPS is that many of their students won't do any work. That is why I decided to leave. However, FCPS was and still is one of the top 10 school systems in the U.S. They probably could be in the top 2 if they would stop dumbing down because parents get irate if their kids do poorly or misbehave. They need to find their backbones of previous decades.
Will Radle November 27, 2011 at 04:52 PM
Joette, thank you for teaching in our schools for FORTY YEARS! I agree with you on unfunded mandates from state and federal governments. SOL is negatively motivated to reduce resources for education. I wrote a comprehensive economic and fiscal plan in 2010. One component invests $100 billion annually to reward schools enabling our 50 million students in K-12 achieve grade level proficiency in reading and mathematics. Representative Moran submitted my plan to the Congressional Budget Office for analysis. "Solutions for an Enduring Nation" remains the only comprehensive economic and fiscal plan he has ever submitted to CBO in his time, over 20 years, on Capitol Hill. Thank you for your valuable service to our community. Together we will restore confidence in the future of our community and our nation. A. WIll Radle, Jr. Creating a Culture of Listening http://fairfaxstation.patch.com/blog_posts/creating-a-culture-of-listening FairfaxAdvocates@gmail.com http://YouTube.com/WillRadle1


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