As a civic leader and community activist, I’ve been working within Arlington Public Schools for the past dozen years in order to increase access to opportunity for all students and shine a light on various inequities still grounded in the school system. In 2020, we are at a tipping point where decisions on school leadership, overcrowding and combating institutional racism will have grave and lasting effects on the education of our children. Difficult times call for difficult measures. We need members on the school board who are willing to look to revolutionary ways to ensure that all of our children are able to achieve their potential. We need someone extraordinary to make courageous decisions that will have ramifications for years to come. I believe that extraordinary person is Symone Walker.
Symone has been a passionate and effective community leader for over a decade and is uniquely qualified to tackle the challenges that APS faces as one of our next school board members. As an APS parent for 10 years, an attorney, and a member of various APS committees and working groups, Symone has been in the trenches on educational policy and it’s delivery in Arlington. She has the experience necessary to ensure that APS meets its goal to provide a high-quality education for every child.
Symone puts students first. A champion for students with special needs, Ms. Walker has developed a deep understanding of the system and the importance of thoughtful strategies to serve a variety of students. She brings fresh thinking and bold ideas and will contribute significantly to forging innovative responses that will work for all our students, keeping in mind their mental health and the outside influences that may hinder their learning. I have observed first hand her ability to work zealously with a range of viewpoints and find creative solutions through common ground, including, most recently, championing an effort with Del. Patrick Hope to pass legislation for mandatory screening of reading disabilities and instructional intervention K-3 for this upcoming 2020 legislative session. Through her leadership on HB 332, Symone has gotten multiple education and equity advocates, including the Virginia NAACP as well as Decoding Dyslexia Virginia, on board to prioritize this measure to make it their legislative priority.
Symone Walker is a true leader, with a knack for finding creative solutions to difficult problems. She has keen insights into the myriad of student needs and ways to increase inclusiveness across our various programs and to support our diverse community. Symone will strive for excellence for all; she won’t be satisfied with merely good efforts when it comes to inclusivity for children of color, students with disabilities, and English as secondary language learners. I have no doubt that she will provide the means to deliver a school system based upon equity and excellence that will propel all students to succeed in this new decade and beyond.
Whytni H. Kernode, Esq.
Vice-President, Black Parents of Arlington
Arlington Public Schools Honored Citizen 2015
Arlington parent: Key, Gunston, HB Woodlawn, Wakefield
Whitny H. Kernodle, Esq.