If you live in Fairfax County, Va., please support Karen Keys-Gamarra.
Karen Keys-Gamarra Kicks Off Re-Election
Campaign for Fairfax County School Board
Incumbent is Only County-Wide Elected African American Public Official
FAIRFAX COUNTY,VIRGINIA (August 10, 2019) – Today, Karen Keys-Gamarra announced the kick-off of her re-election campaign. Keys-Gamarra is the Fairfax County School Board’s only African American member and Fairfax County’s only county-wide-elected African American public official. Her overwhelming August 2017 election to fill a vacancy was the first following the swearing in of Donald Trump and is widely celebrated as the start of the “Blue Wave” in Virginia and around the country.
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is the 10th largest school system in the United States. In a county of more than 1.1 million people, FCPS serves about 188,000 thousand students from diverse racial and socio-economic backgrounds. Since her election, Keys-Gamarra has focused on removing barriers to education for all students,
“When slavery sums up a child’s exposure to black history in a classroom, we need a change in our educational system. When discipline referrals for black, brown and special education students are more than three times those of their counterparts, we need a change in our educational system. When Advanced Learning classes don’t reflect the diversity of the community, we need a change in our educational system. These are a few of the issues negatively impacting our community and my efforts are laser focused on addressing such concerns.”
In her two years on the School Board, Karen has successfully led the effort to
- Increase access to Advanced Academics and Language Immersion programs
- Improve special education services through professional development for staff and greater communication with parents
- Provide support to staff to address student behavioral concerns
- Revise discipline practices to improve academic performance, reduce discipline referrals and reduce school interruptions
- Remove confederate names from our schools
- Expand anti-bullying efforts so that our kids feel safe
- Pass balanced budgets with competitive salaries and reduced class sizes
- Secure full funding for Title I programs
- Sustain environmental stewardship
- Launch a pilot program to achieve menstrual equity
- Ensure transparency in governance and public access to information
Keys-Gamarra ran for school board because these fundamental issues are critical to our community. She believes that every child must have the opportunity to discover their strengths without societal limitations. She has also advocated for curriculum that reflects the history of our student body and a workforce that brings the strength of diversity to our schools.
All these efforts are designed to improve the climate and culture of our schools so that every child can discover his or her potential.
“When we strive for better schools and removing barriers, we will see the achievement gap disappear and our communities become stronger.”
In her professional life, Keys-Gamarra often represents at-risk children and practices family law. Keys-Gamarra recognizes that the effort to improve the lives of children necessarily includes addressing concerns within our educational system. She is the mother of three sons, all of whom attended FCPS. One son recently graduated from West Point and another will be attending William & Mary this fall.
Keys-Gamarra draws from her experience as a parent in her work on the Board,
“I know the fears of a parent who wants to make sure that their child is not only safe but prepared for the future.”
Keys-Gamarra and her husband have resided in Fairfax County since 1990.