Seeking School Board Seat, Egan says Classroom Capacity a Major Issue in Stafford
– September 27, 2013 11:00 am
- Website: http://
- Facebook: facebook.com/IreneEganForStaffordSchoolBoard
- Twitter: twitter.com/IreneEgan
- Age: 46
- Political Party: Independent
- Running for: Stafford County School Board
- District: Aquia
- Opponent: Vanessa Griffin
- Originally from: New Jersey
- Profession: Sales and Marketing manager for the Hylton Group
- Education: George Washington University
- Bachelor’s degree in Political Science (2001)
- Family: Husband: Richard. Two sons: Shane, 12 and Sean, 10.
- Other: Stafford County Public Schools
- -Stafford Elementary School, PTA Board (present)
- -Stafford Elementary School, Technology and Communications Secretary (2011-2013)
- - Stafford Middle School PTO Board, Parliamentarian (2012-1013)
- - Stafford Middle School PTO Board President (present)
- - Capital Improvements Planning Advisory Committee (CIPAC) (2008-2012)
- - Stafford Crime Solvers Board, 2013 Vice chairman
- -Communications Secretary—Stafford Special Education PTA (2011)
Irene Egan believes every child deserves a good education, which is why she is running to fill the Aquia seat on the Stafford County School Board. Egan has two sons on her own, both which are attending Stafford County schools.
“I want them to have the best learning experience they can, and not just my children, but also for my friend’s children and my neighbor’s children,” says Egan. “These are the people that are going to be running our county, the people that are going to be running our schools. We’ve got to pay it forward.”
Egan works as a sales and marketing manager for the Hylton Group in Prince William County. She is also an active member in Stafford County Schools, serving as a member of the PTA for Stafford Elementary School, and the president of the Parent-Teacher Organization for Stafford Middle School.
Egan’s husband, Richard, shares her passion in tackling educational issues. He is a federal law enforcement officer for the US Department of Education, conducting investigations regarding waste fraud and abuse relating to education.
Egan is focusing her campaign on areas such as school security, capacity and performance.
Egan says she takes the security of schools seriously. In light of the events that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. where 20 children and six adults were shot and killed, Egan says it is clear that crime really can happen anywhere.
“I would love to see a police officer at every elementary school,” she says. “I think that it was a victory for us to get them added to the middle schools, but as you saw in Newtown, that wasn’t a high school or middle school, it was an elementary school.”
“Those are the kids that need it the most, they don’t know where to run and they don’t know how to protect themselves.”
As the Vice Chairman of the Stafford Crime Solvers Board, Egan and the board work with the Stafford Sheriff’s Department to offer monetary rewards up to those that provide information to help resolve crimes.
“We recently just paid out $1,000 to a text-to-tip lead that came in, so we were very happy about that,” Egan says.
In reference to Stafford Middle School, Egan says that there has been altering views on how the facility should be utilized, once the building is vacated by Grafton.
“Since Shirley Heim Middle School was built, there was a mass exodus out of Stafford Middle School, which left us with some empty seats,” says Egan. Currently, students from Grafton Village Elementary school are being taught at Stafford Middle School while renovations are being made to the elementary school.
“After [Grafton Village] leaves Stafford Middle school, there is some discussion to put special programs in that school as opposed to leaving it for general education and using that space to help house some of the new communities that are being built now,” she says.
“All of those middle schools or elementary schools near there are near or at capacity and there’s going to have to be a realignment of students at some point,” says Egan. “To put any special programs into Stafford Middle School is, in my view, is not a good use of capacity to help fix the problem that is on the horizon.”
Anti-bullying and anti-drug campaigns
Egan says that there needs to be more educational programs focused on anti-bullying and anti-drug awareness.
“We need something in place to stress what was in the D.A.R.E program, and that will include some of the bullying aspects,” Egan says. “As a candidate, I’m hearing more and more from parents that in fact there is an existing problem and it’s getting larger every year. I’ve had some instances with bullying with my own children, whether in the school bus or in the schools.”
Employment and Economic Development
Egan says that education is the groundwork for economic development.
“If you have a great school system, businesses will want to come here and people will want to relocate their families here to work for those businesses because there is a great school system in place,” says Egan.
“When the schools start falling apart, economic development suffers.”
She says it is important that the seven board members prioritize educational matters and come to a conclusion on how to boost the school system in Stafford.
School and Teacher Performance
The grading system for schools that will go into effect in January 2014, will assign a letter grade to individual schools to evaluate their performance.
While some legislators support the new system as a way of measuring accountability, Egan says she does not think this system is an adequate method to evaluate schools.
“Every child learns at a different rate. If you don’t have the tools in place to have those children get up to speed with your mainstream kids, you can’t hold that against the school as a whole,” she says.
She shares a similar view on teacher evaluations.
“You’ve got 26 kids in a classroom, when there should probably only be 20,” says Egan. “Each kid has a different level of learning. You’re judging a teacher on overall scores in a class when you have all of these different variables that pool, assuming all of the kids and how they test is the same is the issue with evaluating performance this way.”
She hopes that representatives in the General Assembly will address this issue during the next session and allow school board members and parents to participate.
“It is our task to make sure that every kid gets a good education, and I want to be a part of that.”