Loudoun County Chair Phyllis J. Randall delivered a defiant and triumphant portrayal of Loudoun County at her seventh annual State of the County address Wednesday, May 25.
“Over the past year, there have been quite a few people, for quite a few reasons, who have felt the need to highlight what they think they know about Loudoun. While I would like to assume all those people had the best of intentions, it’s likely some may have had other, less commendable motives for making Loudoun the center point of their attention,” Randall said.
Loudoun County’s schools, elected officials and election officers have been the target of national conservative attacks for the past two years. Candidates and political groups have sought to fundraise, remove Democrats and elect Republican candidates capitalizing on a sexual assault scandal in the schools and arguing against antiracist curriculum, while the Office of Election’s work to outsource handling absentee ballots to an out-of-town contractor has been answered with suspicions from the county Republican party about election integrity.
But Randall highlighted Loudoun’s successes, including in schools, in business, and in education. As she has done in years past, she highlighted individuals emblematic or key to those successes, such as Department of Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer, Reston Limousine President Kristina Bouweiri, and Sarah Coyle Etro who has led the county staff on affordable housing initiatives.
She also highlighted the difficult job done by teachers.
“Across the nation the past two years have been extraordinarily difficult for educators in our public and private school systems. If like me, you’ve spent any time in our classrooms, you’ll understand how challenging it is to be a teacher,” she said. “Our educators are asked to be psychologists, nurses, counselors, coaches, mentors and, for some students, the only adult to nurture the potential of that young person. If you take the time to talk to teachers, you’ll realize not only do they extend themselves emotionally—all too often, they literally spend their own funds to outfit their classrooms.”
She highlighted the work of the nonprofit Loudoun Education Foundation, and introduced Executive Director Danielle Nadler and Director of Development Kari Murphy.
And she pointed to the success in Loudoun’s public schools, which are consistently ranked among the top schools in the state and nation, with standardized testing scores and on-time graduation rates well ahead of other school systems.
Randall also pointed to Loudouners’ efforts to welcome Afghan evacuees, support each other during the COVID-19 pandemic, and even support other communities.
“Others may believe they know who we are, but they don’t understand. The greatness of Loudoun resides in the goodness of our people, and our people are the only true authors of Loudoun’s story,” Randall said. “For the past two years, we have been tested by fire, but we have emerged stronger, more resilient, and more committed than ever to Loudoun’s future, a bright future full of hope, vitality, and equal opportunity for every Loudoun resident. That is Loudoun’s story.”
Editor’s note: Loudoun Education Foundation Executive Director Danielle Nadler is a former managing editor of Loudoun Now.