APS News Release

Nancy Van Doren to Chair School Board

7-1-2016 – During its annual organizational meeting on July 1, 2016, the Arlington School Board elected Nancy Van Doren to serve as chair for the 2016-17 school year.  Her term as chair begins immediately and will expire June 30, 2017. Van Doren will fill the position held for the past year by Dr. Emma Violand-Sánchez, who will continue to serve as a member of the School Board through the end of 2016.

The Board also elected Dr. Barbara Kanninen to serve as Vice Chair of the School Board for the upcoming school year, filling the role previously held by Van Doren.

Van Doren thanked her Board colleagues for the opportunity to serve as Chair for the coming school year.  She particularly thanked Dr. Violand-Sánchez for her leadership through the past year. Van Doren affirmed that, “My unwavering focus, as always, is on our students and their learning.  Arlington has the talent and resources to ensure that every child succeeds.”  She noted the dramatic increase of school enrollment since she and her family moved to Arlington in 2004, and said, “With this growth, we have not forgotten who we are.  APS maintains high standards and expectations for all students and constantly improves.  Our students achieve at remarkably high levels.  Our schools and their diverse student bodies continue to be one of Arlington’s greatest assets.”

Van Doren outlined her approach for the coming year, explaining, “As we continue to grow and to bring our current strategic plan to fruition, our litmus test will be, ‘Does each and every child receive the support he or she needs to succeed?’  Our answer must be, ‘Yes.’  To achieve this result, I believe our decisions must be viewed from the perspective of the students.  I will ask, ‘How does this decision affect our students and will it improve our students’ opportunity for success?’

She continued, “In my year as chair, we will strengthen our foundation for the future growth of our school system.  We will meet the capacity needs of our expanding student population through the many projects recently approved in our Capital Improvement Plan.  Instructionally, we will begin the re-design of our high school curriculum based on new Virginia standards.  We will ensure efforts are undertaken to strengthen instruction, target student support, and improve staff development.  We will engage the community in a process to re-envision Drew Model Elementary School. We will update policies to reflect the needs of our growing and changing school system.   We will do this within the context of a multi-year plan that outlines the school system’s work through 2021.  Throughout all this growth and change, we will stay focused on what is most important – our students and their success.”

Nancy Van Doren was appointed to the School Board on September 12, 2014. An education advocate with 10 years of experience as a parent, volunteer and leader in APS, she has served as PTA President at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, chaired the Arlington Special Education Advisory Committee, and served on the Multi-Modal Transportation and Student Safety Special Committee, the Family and Community Engagement Working Group, and the Arlington Career Center Parent Advisory Committee.  She has also served on the APS Advisory Council on Instruction (ACI), the County Council of PTAs, and the ADHD Task Force.

Van Doren has extensive business and international experience. From 1984-1995, she worked in the private sector with Connecticut National Bank, The Travelers Companies, The Hartford Courant and Newsday, with a focus in general management and communications. She is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and holds a Master’s Degree in Management from the Hartford Graduate Center/ Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. From 1996 – 2004, she lived overseas with her husband Jack Zetkulic, a Foreign Service Officer, before moving to the Ashton Heights neighborhood.  She and her husband have four children: Matt, Patsy and Katie are graduates of Washington-Lee High School and attending the University of Virginia, McDaniel College and George Washington University, respectively, and Anne will be a sophomore at W-L in the fall.

Dr. Barbara Kanninen joined the School Board on Jan. 1, 2015. She is a Ph.D. environmental economist, children’s book author, and school and community leader who has served on the School Board’s Early Childhood Advisory Committee, Math Advisory Committee, and ACI, as well as the County Board’s Fiscal Affairs Advisory Committee and the Board of the Youth Ultimate League of Arlington. She is a former assistant professor at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, senior economist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Gilbert F. White Fellow at Resources for the Future.

Kanninen earned a Bachelor’s degree from Ohio University, a Master’s from Texas A&M University and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. She and her husband Kevin have lived in Arlington for over 20 years and have two boys who have been lifelong APS students.