The race for the Blue Ridge District seat on the Loudoun County School Board is getting competitive.
Ram Venkatachalam, a 10-year Brambleton resident and father of two, has announced plans to run for the seat, which is up for election in November. Ian Serotkin, who lives in Purcellville, is also in the running to represent the Blue Ridge District. Jill Turgeon, who has held the seat since 2012, said she is still weighing whether to run for re-election.
Venkatachalam, 38, said he’d like to run for School Board because he sees real challenges that can be resolved to help current and future Loudoun parents, students and school staff. Among his priorities is to reduce attendance boundary changes for families, reduce class sizes and improve communication between administrators and families, which he said is too often reactive instead of proactive.
“Communication can be improved at every level—from the central office to principals and teachers at the schools,” he said.
He’d also like to improve school employees’ pay and benefits to help them afford to work and live in Loudoun County. To help recruit and retain teachers, he wants to explore an option that would provide them with a deduction on their county taxes. “The expectations on teachers these days is huge,” he said. “I want to review educators’ compensation packages and benefits to retain the hired talents to provide a sustainable living in the county.”
Venkatachalam would also like to leverage his experience as an advisory consultant who works on finding business, technology and management efficiencies to find cost-savings within the school system. He wants to create more partnerships between businesses and the school system, improve the division’s procurement process and merge the county and the schools’ IT systems.
He said he’d like to have a hand in providing a great education to students, just like his parents did for him. Venkatachalam grew up in southern India, where he was initially homeschooled and later attended a small school and, eventually, larger schools for high school and college.
“My educational experience really reflects Loudoun County’s school offerings,” he said. “I understand the need for homeschool, small schools and the larger schools—they each meet a different need.”
Venkatachalam would come into the position with some experience on boards. He is the Blue Ridge representative on the Loudoun County Transit Advisory Board and former vice president of the Brambleton Community Association HOA. He is also a graduate of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office’s Citizens Police Academy and a volunteer election officer. He and his wife and two young children also volunteer often in local food pantries.
Follow Venkatachalam’s campaign at facebook.com/vote4ramvenkatachalam.