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School Board Elects Mary Kadera as Chair

Bethany Zecher Sutton named Vice Chair

Mary HeadshotThe Arlington School Board held its annual organizational meeting for the 2024-25 school year and elected Mary Kadera as Chair and Bethany Zecher Sutton as Vice Chair. The terms for the new Chair and Vice Chair begin immediately and will continue until June 30, 2025.

During her remarks, Kadera thanked Cristina Diaz-Torres and David Priddy for their service as Chair and Vice Chair. “I have deep respect for the time and effort they have invested in those roles, and I have never doubted their commitment to this school division or to the institution of public education, which is surely one of the noblest achievements of humankind,” said Kadera.

She continued, “Thank you to my colleagues Bethany Zecher Sutton and Miranda Turner, to our superintendent Francisco Duran for his leadership, and to my county board colleagues for their partnership.”

Kadera also focused on the relationships she has forged over the years and the lessons she has learned. “I invited many people to this school board meeting. I did so very intentionally. Look around you at the people in this room. When I do, it gives me inspiration and courage. What problems can’t we solve through our collective know-how and determination?” said Kadera.

Kadera’s primary goal this year is the budget. “This year, we’ll need to devote particular, intensive time and effort to create a balanced, sustainable budget. It’s going to be difficult but necessary work, and we are going to move through it together: first and foremost because these are public dollars going to a public institution—but also because I believe the end result can only be better when we apply our collective brain power and determination.”

This summer, Kadera will host special, drop-in office hours once a week around Arlington to listen to questions and ideas about the budget.

About Mary Kadera
Mary Kadera joined the Arlington County School Board on January 1, 2022. Mary has been a lifelong advocate for public education and is herself a proud graduate of Virginia’s public education system, from kindergarten through her masters degree.

Mary left the classroom to work at PBS in the early days of the internet, where she developed online content and programs for K-12 teachers and students. Eventually she led PBS’s national education division, overseeing its federal grant programs and coordinating and supporting the work of more than 300 local member stations. After leaving PBS, she consulted with a variety of national education nonprofits, helping them to analyze and advocate for good education policy; understand the needs of families, staff and students; and launch and improve programs for school leaders, teachers and young people. She now works at JED, a national nonprofit dedicated to protecting mental health and preventing suicide among young people.

Mary and her husband Fraser have been married since 2004 and moved from Alexandria to Arlington in 2013. They have two children; a senior at Yorktown and a sophomore at H-B Woodlawn. Things Mary no longer has a lot of time for, but really enjoys, include reading novels, quilting, camping, and baking pies. pies.

Bethany Zecher SuttonAbout Vice Chair Bethany Zecher Sutton
Bethany Zecher Sutton joined the School Board on January 1, 2023. She is a proud Arlington resident of more than 21 years. With two children enrolled in Arlington Public Schools—one a recent graduate and the other an upcoming 10th grader. Bethany’s journey with APS began in 2011 at Randolph Elementary School, where she served as a PTA board member for 7 years, including 3 years as PTA President.

In 2018, Bethany joined the Advisory Council on Teaching & Learning (ACTL), which she chaired in 2021-22 and fall 2022. Within ACTL, she participated on several subcommittees, including the Advisory Committee on English Learners, the Math Advisory Committee, and the Career, Technical & Adult Education Advisory Committee. She also served on the APS South Arlington Working Group in 2015. In 2021-22, Bethany served on the Arlington County Food Security Task Force and she currently is a member of the Columbia Pike Partnership’s Community Advisory Council.

Bethany’s professional background includes nearly 25 years’ experience in higher education. She worked for 17 years at a national higher education non-profit organization with a focus on improving the quality of undergraduate education. More recently, Bethany has worked as a leadership coach and consultant, specializing in leadership development for women in higher education and nonprofit organizations.
For service to the Randolph PTA and leadership for the Randolph Food Pantry during the COVID-19 pandemic, Bethany received the APS Honored Citizen Award in 2021 and the Distinguished County Service Award in 2020 from Volunteer Arlington & the Leadership Center for Excellence.

Next School Board Meeting:
The School Board will hold its next Regular Meeting (2110 Washington Blvd.) on Thu, July 18 at 7 p.m. The agenda will be posted one week before the meeting on BoardDocs.

For More Information:
Community members 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. 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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