I am an immigrant from Jamaica who came to Northern Virginia nearly 33 years
ago at the age of 16. I started my education at Northern Virginia
Community College; then transferred to George Mason University, where I
graduated with a BA in psychology. Before going to law school, I pursued my
paralegal certificate at Georgetown University and worked for a government
contractor for four years, then received my J.D. from American University’s
Washington College of Law in 1998 and my LL.M. in litigation & amp; dispute resolution from George Washington University in 2001. I worked as a Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney for 20 years and as a DOJ mediator for 14 years.
My family has deep roots in Arlington. For 40 years, we have owned and
operated AA Locksmith Service. We opened in 1980 in what used to be
Adams Square Mall on the Pike, but due to the development of Penrose
Square, we relocated to 10th Street in Clarendon. My younger siblings
attended Swanson and Williamsburg middle schools, and both graduated
from Yorktown High School.
Most importantly, I am the mom of two middle-school aged children at
Gunston Middle School. They are the center of my world and I sought their
permission and endorsement first before running for the school board.
Why Am I Running for School Board?
I believe while we are a good school district, we can be so much better.
I envision an equitable APS where no student languishes behind their
peers and where every decision is made through an equity lens.
This means those who need more, get more. Burdens, not just benefits, are
considered, and no voices are missing from the conversation.
I envision a mindful APS that is trauma-informed—where administrators,
teachers, staff, school resource officers, and even parents are prepared to
recognize and respond to those who have been impacted by traumatic
experiences. This means an APS where mental health is prioritized and
seamlessly integrated into every school because we maintain the
recommended ratios of certified counselors, social workers, and school
psychologists, and where we know that this is how to prevent school
I envision a conscious APS, which boldly addresses systemic biases
because it has courageously faced the truth of the past and reconciled its
segregationist history. This means recognizing and addressing our implicit
biases, and also learning to work through difficult conversations with each
I envision a depressurized APS where our students aren't overburdened
with unnecessary testing; where no opportunity gaps exist; where
achievement doesn’t depend on zip code; where our graduates are truly
career- or college-ready; where students know how to think critically and
analytically; where they know how to research and write a stellar position
paper; where they are well-versed in rhetoric and can debate all sides of an
issue with ease; where they value collaboration over competition; where
they have a solid command of civics, a real understanding of our civil rights
history; and where technology is a tool and not a teacher.
I envision an inclusive APS where learning differences, including
giftedness, are identified and addressed early, and also valued and
celebrated for their unique strengths. This means embracing the science of
reading, and not forcing parents to fight for services or pay exorbitant sums
for private remedies or for enrichment. In the APS that I envision, private
school is truly an option, not a necessity, and the quality of our curriculum
is prioritized above everything else.
I envision a diverse APS that is representative of the student body, where
well-trained, well-compensated teachers are not overburdened but are
supported and supportive of parents as partners in their students’
I envision a fiscally responsible APS that can curtail wasteful spending
and operate under fiscal constraints without compromising our students’
education or our teachers’ compensation.
I believe all of this is doable. The school board has a fiduciary responsibility
to deliver no less than excellence and educational parity to every student.
Arlington certainly has the means to do it. I am running for the school
board to raise that bar.
Introduction and announcement of Symone's candidacy for school board