Kaufax running for re-election to school board

Tamara Kaufax with her husband and two children.

Lee District school board representative Tamara Derenak Kaufax announced in an email to supporters on Friday that she is running for re-election.

Kaufax has served on the Fairfax County School Board since 2012. She was vice chair of the board in 2013 and chairman in 2014. She currently serves as the budget chairman.

In the email, Kaufax cited the board’s efforts to increase teacher pay, update curriculum, adopt a new equity policy and add more pre-K classrooms as some of the accomplishments made during her tenure.

“While I am proud of the many accomplishments of our School Board, I believe that there is still more work to do — and that’s why I am running for re-election,” Kaufax said.

There are 12 school board members in Fairfax County — nine represent the county’s various magisterial districts (Lee, Mount Vernon, etc.) and three are elected at large.

Kaufax has lived in Lee District since 1989, and both of her children are graduates of Edison High School.

Her previous civic experience includes time on the Fairfax County Childcare Advisory Council (former chair); Superintendent’s Business and Community Advisory Council; Fairfax Citizens for Better Schools Committee; Lee District Budget Advisory Council; and the Springfield Estates and Bush Hill Elementary Schools PTAs.

Year of change

So far no other candidates have announced their intention to run for Kaufax’s seat. However there is guarantied to be significant turnover on the school board this election cycle.

At least five members will not be returning next year due to retirements and decisions by current members to run for higher office. And that number could end up being higher, as at least two incumbents — Sully District representative Thomas Wilson and Springfield District representative Elizabeth Schultz — are facing challengers in their race.

The members leaving the board include Providence District school board representative Dalia Palchik, who is running for Providence District supervisor, and at-large member Ryan McElveen, who is running for Board of Supervisors chairman. Mason District representative Sandy Evans, Hunter Mill representative Pat Hynes and Dranesville representative Jane Strauss have all announced their retirements.

Additionally, incumbent at-large members Karen Keys-Gamarra and Ilryong Moon will be joined by at least two newcomers (Rachna Sizemore Heizer and Abrar Omeish) in the race for the three at-large seats.