Change & Progress
WE CAN HAVE BOTH BY STU GIBSON
airfax businessman Marty Irving has a saying that has come to be one of my favorites: “Change is inevitable; progress is optional.” During this fall season, especially during this fall election season, truer words were never spoken. And while we each might have a different definition of what constitutes “progress,” in my view the changes brought by 2011 bode well for our schools and children in Reston. First, we have seen positive changes in Reston’s schools. Achievement is up at South Lakes High School, with more students than ever earning the coveted International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma. According to The Connection newspapers, South Lakes sends a higher percentage of its graduates to the University of Virginia than all but three schools in Northern Virginia — one of which is Thomas Jefferson, a regional Governor’s School.
Achievement gaps are closing dramatically at Dogwood Elementary. Thanks to our dedicated teachers working under the visionary leadership of Principal Robyn Cochran, Dogwood students are making impressive progress toward ending the unfair, oppressive sanctions under “No Child Left Behind.” Next, we are seeing progress as the next generation of instructional leaders takes the helm at three of Reston’s elementary schools. Earlier this year, the school system tapped Armstrong principal Shane Wolfe to lead Bailey’s Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences. Shamarlas Allens stepped in without missing a beat to keep our Armstrong children achieving to their highest potential. After the June retirement of Lake Anne Principal Linda Hajj, Brendan Menuey will follow in her footsteps to move Reston’s first elementary school to new levels of success–in what will soon be a newly renovated, 21st century building. And we have selected Kim Price to carry on the legacy of Reston’s longest-serving principal, Frank Bensinger, who retired in June after having led Forest Edge Elementary School for the past 21 years.
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Finally, this fall brings important changes to the Fairfax County School Board. Most of you know that I have decided not to seek reelection to a fifth term as the Hunter Mill District representative on the school board. The past 16 years have brought incredible change — and great progress — for our students and our county. But, alas, that is the subject of another column. The changes on the school board you will see in 2012 will be shaped in large part by decisions you make in the voting booth on November 8. As I write this column, five of my colleagues on the Board have also decided not to seek reelection this year. At least half of the school board will be “new” come January 1, 2012. So your decisions really count. As we approach Election Day, I ask us all to consider how, working together, we can elect leaders who understand and can make the difference between mere “change” and real “progress” for our children, our community of Reston, our Commonwealth and our Country. Stu and his family moved to Reston in 1984, and his children are graduates of South Lakes High School. Stu works as Senior Litigation Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he litigates large tax shelter cases. Mr. Gibson represents the Hunter Mill District on the Fairfax County School Board.
Reston Magazine Fall 2011