School Board member Abby Raphael will not seek re-election in 2015, and does not plan to run for County Board or any other elected office in the coming year.
“It is good for organizations to have new people come on,” said Raphael, who said her two-term, eight-year tenure seems “just about right.”
“I have a year left in my term; I plan to be fully engaged,” Raphael told the Sun Gazette. She also will stay active in the coming year as chair of the Washington Area Boards of Education and a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Combating Campus Sexual Violence, among other posts.
“I’m not ‘retiring’ – I don’t care for that term,” she told the Sun Gazette.
Her decision not to run for a third term on the School Board leaves the seat wide open.
Like all current members of the board, Raphael garnered the endorsement of the Arlington County Democratic Committee prior to winning general-election victories; the party will hold an endorsement caucus in May to pick its candidate for the November general election.
Last year, Raphael frequently was mentioned as a possible successor to Del. Bob Brink (D-48th), who resigned to take a job in the McAuliffe administration. In recent months, she has been touted as a potential candidate for the Democratic nomination for County Board.
“I did think about that,” Raphael confirmed to the Sun Gazette.
Raphael’s departure at the end of 2015 will result in further change on an evolving elected body. This year, board member Sally Baird opted against a re-election bid, and over the summer, Noah Simon departed midway through his first term to care for his children following the death of his wife.
Simon was succeeded by Nancy Van Doren, who will serve the remainder of his term, while Baird will be succeeded by Barbara Kanninen.
Raphael’s next role could come on the state level; Gov. McAuliffe over the next year will have several slots to fill on the Virginia Board of Education, and Raphael did not dispute that she might be interested.
“I am passionate about education,” she said, saying there would be an opportunity to “see what else I can do on the statewide level.”
Raphael was unopposed in the general elections in 2007 and 2011.
Before coming to the School Board, Raphael served as vice chair of the Advisory Council on Instruction, a member of the Budget Advisory Council and the Food Services Advisory Committee, president of the Arlington Science Focus School PTA and a representative to the County Council of PTAs.
Raphael is an attorney and former assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Arlington. Her husband, Stuart, currently serves as the commonwealth’s solicitor general in the office of Attorney General Mark Herring.
Abby Raphael has been an active supporter of Herring, who is widely expected to make a bid for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2017.
The Raphaels have two daughters, one a student at Duke University and the other at Washington-Lee High School.