School Board Chair Barbara Kanninen to Step Down in December | ARLnow

Barbara Kanninen, school board president, during an in-person meeting in December (via APS)

School board president Barbara Kanninen will not run again after her term ends in December.

The president said in an announcement Sunday that she will “continue the hard work of serving our students, staff and the Arlington community” for the remainder of her term, which ends Dec. 31, 2022.

Kanninen, first elected to the school board in 2015, was re-elected in 2018. Before assuming the role of president in July 2021, she last served as president in 2017-18.

“It is a tremendous honor to serve the Arlington community as school board president,” she wrote. “I love this job and truly believe it’s most important to Arlington, especially right now…I’m proud of everything we’ve accomplished together to improve Arlington Public Schools in my eight years. to the board, but now is the time to pass the baton.”

His announcement continues below:

I sincerely hope that the 2022 Democratic approval process will be positive and constructive. The children of Arlington deserve leaders who care deeply about them and will work hard every day to make sure they have the support and opportunities they need. The superintendent and my school board colleagues are exactly those kinds of leaders, and I hope that similarly caring people will come forward this year to introduce themselves.

Thank you very much for your support. I look forward to continuing the hard work of serving our students, staff, and the Arlington community throughout 2022, and I promise that I will continue to find ways to serve beyond this year.

The Arlington County Democratic Committee’s process of approving school board nominees, who are nonpartisan in Virginia, through a caucus was recently criticized by pro-open schools group Arlington Parents for Education, a number of self-identified Democrats, members of the Arlington branch of the NAACP and new council member Mary Kadera.

She is following in the footsteps of her predecessor as president, Monique O’Grady, who announced while schools were still closed to most students that she would focus her “full and undivided attention” on reopening buildings until at the end of his term on December 31. Kadera officially took over O’Grady’s seat at the Jan. 6 school board meeting.

When Kanninen took office last July, she said some of her priorities included improving staff compensation and navigating a “very difficult budget season” with the goal of “getting APS back to a system financially sound and sustainable school”.

In the 2021-22 school year, APS increased the salaries of bus drivers and substitute teachers, and redesigned the pay scale for all staff to compensate for lost salary increases.

Meanwhile, APS has faced multimillion-dollar budget shortfalls in recent years that, during the pandemic, have been partially offset by federal funding. The 2022-23 budget is still being drafted and will be voted on in May.

Kanninen has lived with her husband Kevin Wolf in Arlington for three decades and has sent their two sons through the public school system.

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