Loudoun Education Alliance of Families Holds First Meeting of the Year

The Loudoun Education Alliance of Families elected its new leadership for the 2022-2023 school year during its first organizational meeting on Sept. 6.

School Board Chair Jeff Morse (Dulles) suggested starting LEAF earlier this year, which replaces the now-defunct Loudoun Education Association of Parents, or LEAP.

Like LEAP, LEAF is comprised of delegates from schools across the division to advise the School Board. It is made up of one parent representative from each school and one parent who serves as an alternate, including the Academies, William O. Robey High School and The North Star School. 

Heather Ward was nominated to serve as the chair of the committee. Ward is a mom of two who moved to Ashburn from Birmingham Alabama in 2020. Ward is an attorney who said she specifically picked Loudoun because of the reputation of its school system. She said she believes the school system has a lot to offer and pointed out that as the parents continue to have a voice and work together with the School Board “together we can create a good future for our kids,” said Ward.

Vice Chair of Planning Kristina Patrick is a mom of four who lives in Aldi who said she brings a unique perspective to the committee after homeschooling her children during COVID then putting them back into school. She is also home during the day and said, “I am taking this opportunity where I am home to be a voice for those parents who aren’t there.”

Vice Chair of Membership Mital Gandhi is a father of two children in Ashburn schools. He has experience serving as the PTO vice president and then president for part of last year at Discovery Elementary School. He said he is good at making sure everyone is represented and plans to put his time and energy in ensuring all Loudoun schools have a voice.   

Vice Chair of Communications Karen Miller is a mom with two kids in Broadlands schools. She is an IT manager and has been a member of the Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee (MSAAC) in the county for the past three years. She said they moved to the area in 2016 because of the school system and noted they paid a fortune to send their oldest child to private schools in Georgia because the public education system wasn’t meeting their expectations.

Morse said of the committee, “this is the missing link in our communication system. It’s important to establish a connection with parents.”

Superintendent Scott Ziegler said the committee is a way to increase trust and open dialogue with the community and pointed out that Loudoun County Public Schools is “one of the only school divisions that I know of in the country that encourages public input on every [school board] policy.”

LEAF is one of four advisory committees that reviews school board policies. Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC), Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee (MSAAC), and the Equity Committee are the other three. New policies and policy changes are reviewed by committees before being open to the public for community feedback.

Loudoun County Public Schools Chief of Staff Dan Smith said at the meeting that School Board polices need to be reviewed every five years according to the Code of Virginia to “make sure they are up to date, accurate and conforming to current practices,” said Smith. 

All LEAF members serve a one-year term which starts July 1 and runs through June 30 of the following year. Members are nominated by their PTA, PTO, PTSO or other parent organization and can be reappointed. 

This article was updated Sept 9 to correct Ziegler’s quote to say “one of the only school divisions that I am aware of,” instead of “the only one.”

One thought on “Loudoun Education Alliance of Families Holds First Meeting of the Year

  • 2022-09-08 at 5:37 pm

    So let’s understand what happened at this meeting. Nothing for students or parents. Just a bunch of LCPS sycophants praising this propaganda machine for LCPS.

    Meanwhile, LCPS:

    1. Still tries to shut down the grand jury investigating criminal behavior by their employees

    2. Excuses horrific and falling test scores

    3. Steals exorbitant tax revenue from taxpayers to shower on their lazy employees

    4. Bar their teachers from telling parents about critical decisions (gender identity) from immature students whose parents have exclusive responsibility for their upbringing

    Yet none of f this was discussed. Go figure. Nobody believes LEAF is anything more than a means to get Loudoun Now to print LCPS propaganda.

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