In one of the most watched Fairfax County races this season, Ilryong Moon, Ryan McElveen and Ted Velkoff walked away with victories in the at-large school board race Tuesday night.
It was the "most intense" Fairfax County School Board race in years, and also among the largest. Seven candidates sought the board's three at-large seats, two of them vacated by incumbents wh chose not to seek re-election.
But more than 11 candidates by the When , some candidates without party endorsements, though Steve Stuban was to make it to Election Day.
Candidates seemed driven by "big picture" issues that, in some cases, drew alliances across party lines, said Virginia Board of Education member Christian Braunlich, a former school board member, in an interview.
Particularly in the at-large race, all seven candidates landed on the same page on a number of different issues. Throughout the campaign season, all tended to think the board needs a better independent audit, all wanted to create an ombudsman position and all wanted to improve the relationship with parents and teachers.
Those goals attracted an untraditional group of candidates.
Save incumbent Ilryong Moon, Democrat-endorsed Ted Velkoff, the former president of Chantilly High School's PTSA who also serves on a school board advisory council, and Republican-endorsed Sheree Brown-Kaplan, who worked on special education committees of the school board and Fairfax County Council of PTAs, many of the candidates did not have local PTA leadership experience or a track record voters could consider.
Instead, they touted other business and educational experience in an effort to appeal to voters looking for a "fresh perspective." Lolita Mancheno-Smoak is a business executive and online professor. McElveen is a Chinese language instructor and recent product of who has worked overseas and advocated for academic reform. Tea party favorite Lin-Dai Kendall is a small business owner and architect.
Stuban, an Army veteran employed by the Department of Defense, entered the race after sparked by , but he also became a symbol for the parent voice and community link some voters said they felt the school board lacked.
McElveen said many said his age might work against him, he thought it actually attacted voters looking for a new voice on the board.
He said having the support of party volunteers, particularly on election day, helped make a difference -- and may have been the major difference for Stuban.
"He ran a very impressive campaign, he was a great candidate" McElveen said. "But he didn't have [the same kind of] support."
Velkoff said a "more informed electorate" was the difference in his race.
Unofficial county results for the at-large race are below. Check Patch later for a look at how Tuesday's elections affected the school board as a whole.
School Board At Large
Sheree A. Brown-Kaplan 78,868 16% Precincts Reporting:
234 of 239 (98%)
Lin-Dai Y. Kendall 61,153 12%
Lolita I. Mancheno-Smoak 67,688 14%
Ryan L. McElveen 83,998 17%
Ilryong Moon (Incumbent)
Steven M. F. Stuban 36,226 7%
Theodore J. "Ted" Velkoff 82,299 16%
Source: Fairfax County Board of Elections.