To the editor:
I am writing to urge voters in District B to vote for PreeAnn Johnson, an outstanding candidate for School Board who has served as an elementary school principal and assistant principal in Alexandria City Public Schools for the past 20 years.
When I joined the staff at ACPS in 2006 as the bilingual parent liaison for the ESL Office, Johnson was the assistant principal at Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology. Of all the school administrators throughout ACPS at that time, Johnson was my most enthusiastic collaborator.
Communication with non-English speaking families necessitated new technology and new practices that required school leaders to be open-minded and innovative. Johnson was ready to support and take advantage of every innovation. Her top priority has always been communication with all families so that they can support their children’s success in school. During my nine years with ACPS, our student enrollment increased from 10,000 to 15,000 students.
During that period, Johnson left Cora Kelly to become the principal at Polk Elementary. Schools were overwhelmed with the influx of new students and Johnson did an impressive job of handling the swelling enrollment. She supported her teachers and staff and took advantage of community resources.
Polk was one of the first schools to participate in swimming and bike riding programs offered by community nonprofits. That was a product of Johnson’s focus on the whole child, valuing physical and emotional development along with academics.
Under Johnson’s leadership, Polk has also been one of our highest performing elementary schools academically. During my first term on the School Board, I was the liaison to Polk Elementary and once again had the opportunity to observe Johnson in action. Polk is an ethnically, culturally and socioeconomically diverse school and Johnson made all students and their families feel welcome. School-wide events were always well attended by a diverse group of families.
The School Board has much to gain if Johnson wins in November. If you live in District B, I urge you to vote for her.
-Margaret Lorber, member, Alexandria School Board