Q&A with Dan Storck, Fairfax County School Board
Mount Vernon District Board member is up for reelection on Nov. 8; he’s being challenged by Michele Nellenbach
Dan Storck has represented the Mount Vernon District as a member of the Fairfax County School Board since 2004. He’s running again this year, against challenger Michele Nellenbach.
Patch caught up with Storck, a father of three and Fort Hunt resident, recently at the Hollin Hall Pastry Shop, where we discussed education and other issues.
Patch: Why are you running again?
Storck: “I have unfinished things we need to accomplish for Mount Vernon students, children and the community… You need seven votes to do anything. Those seven votes are the difference between rhetoric and action. The difference for me is I’ve gotten things done. Some of the barriers, some of the things I haven’t been able to get done, are the function of the existing board and what they wanted to do versus what I wanted to do.”
Patch: Do you think honors classes will come back?
Storck: “I think honors are for every single student who wants to try to do honors classes…I think this next board is going to support bringing honors classes back in. I won’t know until the votes are counted. ”
Patch: What other things did you still want to accomplish?
Storck: “Bring back a full-day Monday for all schools, that was taken away. It’s for kids to have more time at school and develop more skills. I have some ideas for doing that.”
Patch: Will there be funding for the Gum Springs Students on Suspension (SOS) program to help suspended students?
Storck: “We need to be doing everything we can to keep students from getting suspended and sent home. That’s the most unproductive thing we can do for a kid is to have them at home and sitting in front of a TV. It gives parents a way to make sure their kids are somewhere. I think we need a program like SOS and it needs to be available. One way is through a public-private partnership to work with kids who have different kinds of needs.”
Patch: What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Storck: “It’s frankly having safer schools. West Potomac, adding sidewalks at the entrance, that’s one of them, and renovations at Waynewood, Stratford Landing, Riverside, and renovations starting next year at Sandburg Middle School. Getting a South County middle school built, building Laurel Hill early, putting together the board coalition and overturning staff recommendation to not build a middle school in South County. It would not be built today if I had not been involved. It was an extremely uphill battle. That was one of the toughest things I’ve ever accomplished. I realize I sound like an egomaniac, but it’s something I’m extremely proud of.”
Patch: What name is being considered for the new middle school in Lorton?
Storck: “I’ll leave that up to the community but what I’ve recommended is it be a female; I would also like to see, possibly a suffragette, because of the Lorton history of the suffrage movement there.”
Patch: When do you anticipate the next boundary change?
Storck: "Because of BRAC, we need to do a broader boundary for South County as well as for West Potomac, and that will include Hayfield and Mount Vernon. We’re looking at giving it a year to settle in to see what the numbers will look like. With BRAC finishing up this year, we could look at the boundaries in the fall of next year or potentially the year after that."
Patch: What qualities will you look for in a search for a new superintendent for Fairfax County Public Schools?
Storck: "I’ll look for someone who has high academic expectations for our students, is an outstanding motivator and leader and is sensitive to community and our staff and is overall an excellent manager."
Patch: Any predictions on the budget?
Storck: "Next year will be an equally tough budget year. I'm optimistic the Board of Supervisors will be a little bit more generous in their funding if they truly believe what they say which is our schools are our most important asset to our communities. We've taken a hit and can't continue to be world leaders if we're not funded in a way that supports that."
Patch: And last but not least...you impersonate Abraham Lincoln at parades and other events. You obviously look like him but can you tell us how that got started?
Storck: “My kids growing up had been in the Presidents Day parade for Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts in Old Town. George Washington was in it but not Abraham Lincoln. I’d been told I look like Lincoln so in 1994, I asked if I could be in the parade; I grew a beard and rented a costume. I appeared for the parade and they put me right in front of the Confederate soldiers. An honor guard of Union soldiers said, “Move up here!” After that I went over to the Lincoln Memorial and I was mobbed. My family had to drag me out of there.”
Lorton Editor James Cullum contributed to this report.