APS News Release

School Board Selects Monique O’Grady as Chair, Barbara Kanninen as Vice Chair

New School Board Chair and Vice Chair
(From L to R) School Board Chair Monique O’Grady, Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán and Vice Chair Dr. Barbara Kanninen

At its July 1 organizational meeting, the Arlington School Board selected Monique O’Grady as School Board Chair for the 2020-21 school year. The School Board selected Dr. Barbara Kanninen as Vice Chair.

“Communication and collaboration are setting an important foundation as we prepare to reenter school this fall. We are stronger together, and these two actions will help us serve our students, families, and staff through these challenging times,” said new School Board Chair Monique O’Grady.

On collaboration, O’Grady had the following message. “We will need to continue to collaborate with the County to maximize success within new fiscal constraints that may get worse before they get better. We will need to lean on our community leaders and partners to support our families in need. We must honor our teachers and staff as they work with students in different ways, and we must be ready to support our students social emotional and learning needs, because they will be on the frontlines of this change.”

“I enter this situation ready to lead because of the support of the school board staff and each of my colleagues, who have all been board chairs before. I have learned a lot from you and will continue to treasure your expertise and guidance. I have special gratitude for Ms. Talento who mentored me through the past year as her vice chair. Her intelligence, kindness, wit and compassion are an inspiration to me.”

She concluded her remarks by thanking the Executive Leadership Team and those who came before her. “Thank you, Executive Leadership Team, as you work overtime to craft and support a reopening plan that serves our students. Thank you to all the women and people of color who have served on this board before me, including Evelyn Syphax, for whom our offices are named. Thank you to my family for their constant support in my effort to serve our community. And thank you to all those who helped me earn the opportunity to be the first black elected woman in Arlington so I can serve our students and families in this important role.”

Monique O'Grady
Monique O’Grady

About Chair Monique O’Grady
O’Grady has been a member of the School Board since 2018 and has been an Arlington resident for nearly 30 years, as well as an APS parent for 23 years. She has been a longtime community advocate, and communications professional.Before being elected to the School Board, O’Grady worked inside schools and across the APS system to bring positive change for students, teachers, and the greater community. She served on the South Arlington Boundary Committee, Early Childhood Advisory Committee, APS South Arlington Working Group, New Elementary School at Thomas Jefferson Building Level Planning Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, and Multi-Site Committee for School Facilities. O’Grady also co-chaired the 2016 School Bond Campaign and was a member of the Arlington Arts Commission.

About Vice Chair Dr. Barbara Kanninen
Kanninen joined the Arlington School Board on January 1, 2015 and this is her second time serving as Vice Chair. She currently serves as Liaison to the Advisory Council on Instruction, Joint Facilities Advisory Commission, and the Legislative Process. Kanninen has served as Chair and Vice Chair of the School Board, as well as Chair of the Audit Committee, and Liaison to the Budget Advisory Committee, South Arlington Working Group, Whole Child Working Group, Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth, and Families, and Student Advisory Board.Kanninen has been honored with a number of awards for her consistent commitment to educators and students, including the Arlington Education Association’s “Friend of Education” award and AGLA’s Equality award. In 2017, Washingtonian magazine named Barbara one of the Most Powerful Women in Washington.

Next School Board Meeting:
The School Board will hold its next Regular Meeting (2110 Washington Blvd.) on Thu, July 16 at 7 p.m. The agenda will be posted one week before the meeting on BoardDocs.

For More Information:
Citizens 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. Citizens may call 703-228-2400 on the Monday after the School Board meetings to listen to a meeting summary. 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.