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Moon Elected School Board Chair

At-large member narrowly beats Dan Storck after current chair bows out of race

After current chair Janie Strauss failed to win a majority of a Thursday vote that would have kept her in the role for another term, the Fairfax County School Board member withdrew her name from the contest and cast her vote to help at-large member Ilryong Moon slide past her initial challenger, Dan Storck, for the position.

The board's first vote for a new chairman, traditionally held each July,  evenly divided the 12-member body between Storck (Mount Vernon) and Strauss (Dranesville), who had been chair for the past year and also served as chair from 2000 to 2001. 

The chair and vice chair are elected for one-year terms at the board's annual organizational meeting, usually held during its first regular meeting in July. The chair receives a stipend of $2,000 on top of the $20,000 received by each school board member annually.

Before the meeting, it became clear Strauss and Storck would reach a stalemate, Pat Hynes (Hunter Mill) said. Moon approached Hynes shortly before the vote to nominate him for the position, and she agreed, she said.

Hynes nominated and voted for Storck in his initial run against Strauss.

"We had two people nominated for chair and neither one could get a majority. We had to have another plan ... there had to be another way. And it seemed like [Moon] was able to get most of this board behind him," said Hynes, counting both of the board members among her mentors but ultimately casting her vote for Moon over Storck, giving him a 7-5 win.

Moon, the vice chair during the 2011-12 year, served as board chairman in 2006 and vice chairman in 2005.  

Storck, who served as board chair from January 2007 to July 2009, was narrowly defeated again for the position of vice chair by Hynes in another 7-5 vote.

Strauss, who supported Hynes along with Kathy Smith (Sully), Ryan McElveen (At-large), Tammy Derenak Kaufax (Lee), Moon and Ted Velkoff (At-large), called the Hunter Mill District rep's recent experience in FCPS classrooms a major asset to the board and the position of vice chairman.

Hynes, who left her job as a classroom teacher when is the first person with recent classroom experience to serve as vice chair since before the board was an elected body, Strauss said.

"You come in with a knowledge base other people just don't have," Hynes said after the meeting.

Along with running meetings, responding to member and board needs and appointing representatives and liaisons to committees, the chair is the official spokesperson for the board, reflecting the "spirit and intent" of the board to other government bodies and the community.

Many of those who supported Storck described the eight-year veteran of the board as a careful listener and consensus builder, adding he offered a chance for the board — half of which has served less than a year since being elected last fall — to head in a new direction.

It's a change "many of us ran on," member Patty Reed (Providence) said in her argument for Storck's leadership. 

"I feel we should all be given opportunities. I feel we should all take turns," she said, voting for Storck in both minority votes along with Elizabeth Schultz (Springfield), Sandy Evans (Mason), Megan McLaughlin (Braddock) and Storck. "Change may be a dirty word to some, but I think it's a good thing."

Reed, while commending Strauss' leadership, said there were several "hiccups" in the past year "concerning the role of the chair ... [and the chair] being a spokesman of this board." She said Storck was "careful" when he was representing his own opinion versus that of the board.

"It is integrity that makes me want to support Mr. Storck," she said.

Several members expressed disappoinment in Strauss during this spring's budget process: The board approved a spending plan that asked the county for an 8.4 transfer increase, but when Strauss appeared in front of county supervisors during a public hearing on the budget, she requested a smaller increase of 5 percent, a difference of $56 million.

Moon, a partner with the law firm of Moon, Park and Associates, served on the school board from 1995 to 1999 and again from January 2004 to the present. He was elected chairman in 2006 and served as vice chairman in 2005. 

He said the largest issues facing the board this year — aside from — are evaluating and dealing with a 2014 budget deficit the board is not yet sure how to balance.

The board meets again next week to approve a final budget review before taking a month-long break in August.

Erica R. Hendry July 16, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Phil: I mention this above but I'll break it out because of the number of votes it can get confusing. In the first vote: Strauss: Kathy Smith (Sully), Ryan McElveen (At-large), Tammy Derenak Kaufax (Lee), Ilryong Moon (At-large), Janie Strauss (Dranesville) and Ted Velkoff (At-large). Storck: Elizabeth Schultz (Springfield), Sandy Evans (Mason), Megan McLaughlin (Braddock), Dan Storck (Mt.Vernon), Pat Hynes (Hunter Mill). Strauss then said she would not run. Hynes said she would nominate Mr. Moon. The vote between Mr. Moon and Mr. Storck was: Moon: Kathy Smith (Sully), Ryan McElveen (At-large), Tammy Derenak Kaufax (Lee), Ilryong Moon (At-large), Janie Strauss (Dranesville), Ted Velkoff (At-large) and Pat Hynes (Hunter Mill). Storck: Elizabeth Schultz (Springfield), Sandy Evans (Mason), Megan McLaughlin (Braddock), Dan Storck (Mt.Vernon). It was the same vote for vice chair -- 7-5 for Hynes over Storck. Hope that helps. Thanks for reading, Erica
FCPSParent July 18, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Thank you, Erica. I'm just catching up on this news and find it confusing as well. Hynes nominates Stork for chair over Strauss. Then she nominates Moon and votes for him over Stork. After that, she is nominated by Moon and runs against and defeats Stork, the guy she originally felt should be chair? I wish you had delved more into the back story of what happened. Why did Hynes nominate Stork if she preferred Moon in the position of chair? If Stork was her first choice, then why didn't she continue to support him? Not only that, she says Moon asked her to nominate HIM for chair, and then he nominates HER for vice chair? Frankly, this election looks predetermined -- politics as usual with back room deals for political gain. This kind of stuff can't lead to fair outcomes on issues that parents care about and isn't in the best interest of the public who elected these people. I thought we were getting a new board that promised to be honest and open in its decision-making. At least that's what I voted for. What a disappointment!
Heather Barber July 22, 2012 at 04:11 PM
From what I know about Pat Hynes - and gleaning info from the article - her nomination of (and subsequent vote for) Moon was a compromise...while she supported Storck for the role of chairman, she realized he could not secure a majority vote. Therefore, she nominated and supported someone who could. Pat was not playing backroom politics - she was helping to move the board forward.
John Farrell July 22, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Heather - the Moon/Hynes deal has been in the works for months.
Heather Barber July 25, 2012 at 12:11 AM
The article says, "Moon approached Hynes shortly before the vote to nominate him for the position." I interpret "shortly before" to be an amount of time far less than "months"...and I commented on the information given in the article only.

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