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    UPDATE: Contender for School Board At Large seat enters ring

    After months of thinking and discussing his options with colleagues, Leesburg’s Dr. Stephan Knobloch decided to run for the School Board’s At Large seat. He thought about running for the Leesburg seat, but decided At Large made sense since two contenders for Leesburg had already surfaced. Courtesy photo/Stephan Knobloch
    The third contender for the School Board November elections has come forward.

    Former Loudoun school district administrator and Leesburg resident Stephan Knobloch told the Times-Mirror that he intends to run for the At Large seat.

    Currently, Knobloch, who received his doctorate from the University of Virginia, is the senior vice president of research and advisory services at K12 Insights, a Herndon-based organization that tries to increase the collaboration between schools and educational stakeholders on a national level.

    While working for the school district, Knobloch had his hands in research and analysis.

    Knobloch said he's entering the elections with the hope that he can contribute to policy-making and decisions with his hands-on experience with Loudoun County Public Schools.

    “I think I can inform the dialogue,” said Knobloch. “I think the issues that Loudoun faces aren't uncommon. They may be a little more pronounced because of the growth and affluence...But the challenges we face, I think, need a little more experience [informing] the conversation from a professional educator's viewpoint.”

    A teacher for 14 years in Phoenix, Fairfax and Loudoun, he started his administrative work in the county as a staff development researcher.

    He spent around 13 years working with research and data for the school district. Three of those years were as LCPS's director of research.

    Knobloch moved to Loudoun in 1992 with his wife Karen. It wasn't long before his son, Michael, was born. A few years later, they had another addition to their family with a daughter, Katherine.

    As of right now, Knobloch has no competition for the At Large seat, with incumbent Thomas Reed's announcement that he will not seek re-election.

    Long-time Leesburg resident and substitute teacher Anthony Fasolo announced earlier this year his intent to run for the Leesburg School Board seat. Former Leesburg School Board representative Tom Marshall also plans to run for his old seat.

    Knobloch believes that schools have been under-resourced in past years. Cuts to positions, programs and resources for evaluating program and curriculum effectiveness have caused problems.

    “So I am running on the notion that in order to improve you need to innovate,” he said. “In order to educate you need to provide the resources and support that are required...I think the population right now that has seen the greatest impact is our English language learners...If we want our kids to be successful, and we want our school system to be the best, then we should be measuring what that looks like [through evaluating what does and doesn't work.]”

    Currently, Knobloch sees the county's growth and the collaboration with the Loudoun Board of Supervisors on funding as some of the biggest challenges facing Loudoun schools. With the new superintendent, he believes the current School Board has begun to shift from a finance-driven budget to a needs-based budget where the vision for what is needed guides the needed finances.

    “Whether it's the CIP and building for growth or it's a matter of funding salaries or benefits, that has always hindered progress,” he said. “There will always be constraints, but I think you have to always have a vision for what it is you're trying to build...And bringing in the voices of the families, the students, the employees, the business community at large, as to what this vision is for Loudoun County Public Schools.”

    For his campaign, Knobloch said the biggest challenge will be balancing the time and energy needed to listen to all of these voices, which is harder to do when you're getting the perspective of the entire county for the At Large seat.

    Read the story about At Large incumbent Tom Reed's decision not to run for re-election here.
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