Former Business Teacher Named Loudoun Education Association President

Loudoun County’s school employees have a new advocate.

David Palanzi, a longtime business teacher, has been named Loudoun Education Association’s new president. The 51-year-old started his new role earlier this month and will serve a four-year term, taking over for previous LEA president Joey Mathews.

The LEA is an advocate organization that represents 3,300 Loudoun County Public School employees who are members.

Palanzi served as vice president of the group for the past two years, while he continued to teach business at Stone Bridge High School. In all, he has 29 years of teaching experience, 15 with Loudoun County Public Schools.

Always the educator, Palanzi said he’s taking what he learned encouraging leadership in his students and applying that to his new position at the helm of the LEA.

“With students, I always worked on growing leadership. Older students would mentor younger students and teach them to lead,” he said. “At the LEA, I want to grow people’s capacity for leadership, and that’s already been happening.”

He’s been impressed with the willingness of school employees, from teachers and bus drivers to custodians and counselors, to offer their ideas and volunteer to serve on LEA committees.

An area he wants to see improvement in is the organization’s connection with those in the private sector. “I really want to make in roads with the business community. I think they are great allies for us,” he said.

Welcoming business leaders’ feedback can help shape education in Loudoun to meet industries’ future hiring needs, but the communication can go both ways, Palanzi added. He wants to work on clearly illustrating some of the needs of the 78,000-student school system that could be met by a small tax increase. He gave the example of overcrowding at schools in the southern end of the county.

He also said that carving out a few more minutes of time during the school day for teachers to collaborate on instruction methods would not cost much but could reap big benefits. “That’s one thing I think would improve education in a big way is if teachers could talk more and share with each other what’s working for them in the classroom,” he said.

LEA staff members and volunteers spend much of their time supporting for the school budget. Palanzi said, as talk has already begun about the fiscal year 2018 operating budget—which will be approved by the School Board in February—he wants to work on restoring some of the services that have been cut in recent years of fiscal belt-tightening. As examples, he listed changes to employees’ health care coverage options and reimbursement for educators who become nationally board certified.

“Cutting that was a mistake,” he said of the teacher reimbursements. “The more education our teachers have, the more prepared they are to teach students.”

At the end of the day, Palanzi said he will carry out what he calls the 20/80 rule—“talk 20 percent of the time, listen 80 percent of the time. That’s how the most progress is made.”

Palanzi can be reached at Learn more about the LEA at

5 thoughts on “Former Business Teacher Named Loudoun Education Association President

  • 2016-08-19 at 5:30 pm

    Wow, so the “business teachers” who’s been a teacher ever since he graduated from college is going to be the union president, eh? Maybe now our students can get a business teacher with some experience running an actual business…

    Where to start. He wants to convince businesses to raise taxes so teachers who retire at 52 yrs old can get an even larger pension than $50K/yr in perpetuity? Hey Rdj, did your housemate Dave just retire at the ripe ol age of 51?

    So the union president wants teachers to have more time to collaborate. I’ve got an idea! Why don’t we add 30 minutes to each day’s contract (still ~7.5 hrs/day for 195 days/yr) so they can have 30 min to collaborate? Done!

    And Dave wants NBCT (like those PE teachers who really benefit from being board certified and getting $5K/yr extra from the taxpayers) stipends to be reinstated. Show us where that has any difference! Or maybe I’ve got an idea. Instead of throwing $$ at teachers who take a few more classes (without any real benefits), why don’t we increase the pay/step of teachers with proven results like John Tuck of RRES. You see Tuck was too busy actually effecting student progress and leading teachers in his school to take classes. Why would he when you get phenomenal results. But Tuck gets little more than 1/2 what Dave Palanzi did (as a “business” teacher with no experience in business) even though Tuck achieved great math growth with disadvantaged kids. I’m sure the union president can explain why that’s “fair” and why he supports the salary scale that led him to be greatly overpaid while superstars like Tuck are left with the scraps.

    Folks, this is what unions do. Protect ineffective teachers. Keep the great ones from getting paid what they deserve. And always beg for more money from the taxpayers. I see they have another “leader” who will continue these same failed policies.

  • 2016-08-19 at 10:24 pm

    Good luck getting a successful, business owner to switch to teaching once they realize they will have their salary cut in half. And they have to spend $5-$10k getting certified. And they have to deal with you trying to micromanage them all while telling them that they have a cushy life.

    • 2016-08-21 at 7:17 am

      CareerSwitcher fails to see the irony in his post.

      Schools aren’t required to have teachers with licenses. That’s the whole point of Teach for America. Community colleges often have experts in a given field teach a specific class without going through a huge licensing process.

      But exactly who (which group) opposes allowing such industry experts teach courses such as business without full teachers licenses? Why the unions, of course, which is now headed by an LCPS ex-“business” teacher (who never was a businessman to begin with). Ain’t that incestuous relationship between our boards and the unions great?

      • 2016-08-22 at 8:58 am

        Community Colleges? The State requires licenses so public school teacher must have them. Not sure what you are talking about – reality or some fantasy?

        TSA – you said you wanted an experienced business person to teach business, not simply a recent college graduate.

        Unions? We don’t need to revisit your argument that LEA is actually a union just like the Teamsters or American Auto Workers despite having no collective power. But now, you are talking about many unions? What other groups are unions in your mind. The band boosters.

        I noticed you did not challenge my assertion about cutting the person’s salary significantly when they move from owning their own business to teaching. At least we are making progress on your understanding of teacher pay vs other jobs.

        There is much to criticize the school about including how the administration runs their side of the organization. Ask any teacher and they will have plenty to tell you. You would be better off finding solutions to those real-world problems instead of attaching teachers themselves.

        • 2016-08-22 at 8:34 pm

          CareerSwitcher, did you not click on this link that shows LEA tells its members it is a union? Are you saying your own “leaders” are lying?

          It’s TFA (Teach for America). Many of those have tremendous liberal arts/math talent. But LCPS, teachers unions, and all the naysayers like you oppose them. What’s wrong with a little competition? Afraid you won’t measure up?

          Since you always suggest we need “experienced” teachers with “credentials”, how do you defend Palanzi teaching business?

          CareerSwitcher shows he knows nothing about business. Most business people are not rich. They earn a decent living and work incredible hours (far more than you ever have). If a business becomes very profitable, competition arises. It’s called supply and demand. You can see it more clearly on eBay and other online sellers. But it appears you don’t understand these concepts. Despite being a “career switcher”, there is not much that you do seem to know.

          Yes, there are many areas in which the LCPS administration could improve. They have made 1 or 2 very good recent hires who despite obstruction from the Supt and LCSB, appear to be making positive change. Let’s hope they can rise above the roadblocks in that castle.

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