Candidate questionnaire: Elisabeth G. Riordan

info@islandpacket.comOctober 23, 2012 

Name: Elisabeth G. Riordan

Age: 69

Office: Beaufort County Board of Education, District 8

Number of years living in the area you seek to represent: 4

Family: Husband Barrett J. Riordan; two adult children and three grandchildren in northern Virginia

Education: Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Old Dominion University; Master of Arts in education and counseling from George Washington University; doctorate in counseling from George Washington University; trained mediator under auspices of Virginia Supreme Court

Current occupation/employer: Retired school counselor, Fairfax County Public Schools, 2008

Employment, military and volunteer history: Elementary school counselor, Fairfax County Public Schools, 1998-2008; adjunct faculty, George Washington University, 1980-81; junior high counselor, Prince George County, Md., public schools, 1970-1976; classroom teacher, Fairfax County public schools, 1968-1970; classroom teacher, Chesapeake public school system, Chesapeake, Va., 1964-1968; Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry; the Pregnancy Center of Hilton Head; Odyssey of the Mind Coach, Fairfax County, Va.; chairwoman of Environmental Quality Advisory Council Fairfax County, Va.; confirmation class teacher, St. Louis Catholic Church, Alexandria, Va.; Cub Scout parent volunteer; PTA volunteer; athletic booster club parent volunteer, Bishop Ireton High School, Alexandria, Va.; Friends of 1300 Delaware, citizens' advocacy group for residents of public housing project in southwest Washington, D.C.

Please list all public offices to which you've been elected, when and where:

Appointed to Environmental Quality Advisory Council, Fairfax County, Va., 1981-89

Please list any unsuccessful runs for public office and when: None

Other prior political and government experience: Volunteering for various political campaigns in Virginia; poll watcher -- certified mail-in ballot tallies; finance committee member for winning Fairfax County Board of Supervisors candidate

Key endorsements you've received: No response given

Contributions: No campaign contributions or expenditures reported as of Oct. 12.

Expenditures: No campaign contributions or expenditures reported as of Oct. 12.

Highest contributor: No campaign contributions or expenditures reported as of Oct. 12.

Why should people vote for you? What separates you from your opponents? Be specific.

During my 32 years in public education, I have had the opportunity to witness significant developments in public education. Having been involved in the implementation of many initiatives, such as "No Child Left Behind," I have developed an understanding of what will and will not get results.

All of my experience has been at the school level, developing programs and delivering direct services. I know what happens and should happen in a school on a daily basis and how important it is to both engage students and to forge positive relationships with parents and the community at large.

At the same time, my formal education and training make me uniquely qualified to serve on the Beaufort County school board. I have current knowledge of trends and best-management practices in the field of education and am willing to work collaboratively to meet all challenges that come before the board. I have been a student, parent, and educator and understand why all their individual perspectives are important to the educational process.

What are the three most important issues you would address if elected?

The following three issues must be addressed and will affect the future of public education but cannot be resolved completely by local action:

  • Delivering an instructional program that is relevant and prepares students to take advantage of evolving employment opportunities is vitally important as we evaluate the effectiveness of our schools. I would like to see secondary education focus on preparing students for employment or further post-secondary training in fields not requiring a college degree. This training could be begun or completed in high school through cooperation with technical schools and colleges.

  • Resolving funding issues in a stagnant economy with an aging population that may feel disconnected to public education concerns has to be addressed so that money is available to take public education to the next level. Technological advances have changed education in a positive and permanent way and require a significant financial investment. Compensation for school personnel will always be at the top of budget concerns. If we really believe that preparing our children to function as responsible, productive adults is important, we must find the money to make it happen.

  • Resolving accountability issues regarding student achievement and teacher evaluation is a nationwide issue. Should a teacher's pay be based on student achievement? How would achievement be measured? Would students receive pre- and post-testing in each subject or would we rely on a criterion referenced post-test. Should teachers of core subjects be subjected to stricter evaluations than teachers of electives? How do you achieve equity? I would suggest a model that gave bonuses to all school staff in schools that met their predetermined educational goals. This model would promote a collaborative effort and give all staff members a stake in the outcome.

  • What other issues do you see as important?

    It is vitally important that learning takes place in a nurturing, challenging and safe environment. Parents, students and teachers must be assured that our schools are safe and that their concerns will be heard and addressed.

    What specific steps will you take to make government more open and accessible to the public?

  • hold public forums

  • conduct surveys

  • make more information available on school system website

  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime (felony), been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you? If so, please give the details.

    No

    Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details.

    No

    Are there any personal details about yourself that voters would be interested in knowing?

    My fifth-grade teacher, in a North Carolina public school, assigned seats to my classmates and me based on our scores on a non-standardized reading test. The boy who had the lowest score later went to prison. I resolved that when I became a teacher, all of my students would be treated with respect.

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