Arlington School Board Vice Chairman Nancy Van Doren will kick off her bid for re-election at the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s Dec. 2 meeting.
Van Doren, who in 2014 won a special election to fill out the term of Noah Simon, confirmed on Nov. 24 that she planned to seek a full term.
“I have been working hard to bring family and community voices to the table as the School Board makes critical decisions that directly affect student achievement and our capacity challenges,” Van Doren said in an e-mail to supporters.
“I have also maintained my focus on fiscal responsibility and ensuring we have a strong working relationship with the County Board, so we can collaboratively meet the needs of our growing community and student population,” Van Doren wrote.
Van Doren in 2014 unsuccessfully sought the Democratic endorsement for the School Board seat that was being vacated by Sally Baird, narrowly losing in a May caucus to Barbara Kanninen.
But less than two months later, Simon announced his resignation, and Van Doren was the only candidate to file to succeed him.
While the special election was held concurrently with the 2014 general election, School Board members appointed Van Doren to the board two months before the vote, saying that because she had no opposition, there was no point in waiting. (Kanninen in November 2014 defeated independent Audrey Clement to succeed Baird.)
Also on the ballot in 2016 will be the School Board seat of board chairman Emma Violand-Sanchez, who was first elected in 2008.
Should more than two Democrats file to seek the seats of Violand-Sanchez and Van Doren, the Arlington County Democratic Committee will hold an endorsement caucus – likely in May – to select its endorsees.
In Virginia, school board seats are officially nonpartisan; while political parties cannot nominate candidates, they can “endorse” candidacies, which often amounts to the same thing. All five current School Board members won the Democratic endorsement en route to general-election victories.
This past July, Van Doren was selected by her colleagues as School Board vice chairman, and is likely to succeed Violand-Sanchez as chairman in mid-2016. The position usually, although not always, rotates among board members on an annual basis.
Van Doren is planning a campaign kickoff on Jan. 15 at Lyon Park Community Center.