Atoosa Reaser

Atoosa Reaser

Sterling resident Atoosa Reaser calls her Algonkian District School Board candidacy a natural progression of her community involvement.

A James Madison University graduate, Reaser got her teaching license before becoming a lawyer. The Virginia Supreme Court qualified her as a guardian ad litem, which is an attorney appointed to represent the best interest of children.

Reaser said her background in education and law helps her understand policy and issues facing Loudoun County Public Schools. As a parent in Loudoun, she’s served in school PTAs, as a classroom volunteer and as a substitute teacher.

In her PTA roles, Reaser said she found she was often researching school policies and explaining them to parents. But even before then, as a first-generation immigrant, Reaser said it was on her to learn the ins and outs of school and then help her parents learn.

She said she has direct and personal experience with the processes and programs available through gifted and special education, including individualized education plans, or IEPs.

“I think the combination of personal and professional experiences across many facets of public education will enable me to collaborate with the many stakeholders that the School Board serves,” Reaser said.

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors appointed Reaser to serve on the Community Policy and Management Team, which administers services provided to at-risk youth and families. This past year, Reaser became involved in the Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee as secretary.

She said she was drawn to MSAAC because of their use of evidence-based research to present problems and solutions in education. She said that should she be elected to represent the Algonkian District, she’d seek out data and hear out constituent’s opinions to help inform her decisions.

“I actually think that that is a huge responsibility as a School Board member, to be able to listen to people’s ideas and to be able to represent them,” Reaser said.

Reaser listed communication, diversity in hiring, pay of mid-career teachers, mental health support, small class sizes and making sure Algonkian District schools are being properly maintained as issues of interest to her.

She envisions taking steps to better share information, like sharing School Board agendas ahead of time on social media or on email lists, to help constituents who may not know how to navigate the School Board site.

“There are people who don’t spend a lot of time online. There are people who English is their second language, and there are other barriers to be able to attain that information,” Reaser said.

On the issue of diversity hiring, Reaser said the LCPS teacher population does not reflect similar demographics to the student population. She became more informed on the issue through her role in MSAAC.

MSAAC has been calling attention to the issue since last school year, citing research that suggests all students benefit from having diverse teachers and the benefits for minority students to have role models who come from similar backgrounds.

Reaser said she’d like to see some standardized approaches to hiring that gives equal access to candidates.

“Some principals go to the same university every year and only hire from that one university,” Reaser said. “So by definition, you can’t achieve diversity that way.”

She also applauded the current board’s expansion of mental health support to middle schools.

As a board member, Reaser said she’d invite more participation on mental health issues from families, even families who don’t have kids in schools.

Reaser said she’d like to spend the next year going to new areas of the Algonkian District and reaching out people who haven’t gotten the chance to get to know her yet. She has set up a campaign Facebook and website.

The Algonkian District is currently represented by Debbie Rose. Rose has yet to announce whether she'll seek re-election.

(21) comments

BobOhneiserEsq

SEEMIL90, You post anonymously and then merely label insults. How about taking any of my input and showing why it is not an issue worthy of attention. Do you also steal election signs in the dead of night to show your citizenship? Put your real name out there and say why you think coaches and gym teachers should not be in locker rooms to supervise the environment! Tell us why some schools in the west have 25 plus years experienced teachers and some eastern schools have less than 3.

springerdad

Based on what they usually block from being posted I am surprised at the comments that made it though this time. I guess it all depends on who you insult.

Seamill90

[beam] Bob Ohneiser is jealous, a minority woman got elected lol. just let it be Bob. I know it hurts you.

More Cowbell

When did she get elected?

scottva

@LTM, apologies NOT 12:46pm but 12:27pm today

scottva

@LTM, with regards to my post today at 12:46pm, why did you edit out the link I provided? I wrote "If the diversity movement was truly about multiculturalism, then why were so many people ticked off when (2) white people were appointed to the Leesburg Diversity Commission group?" and I provided a link to a 2015 Washington Post article to support my comment, because, frankly it sounds unbelievable BUT it was based on facts. Isn't it helpful when someone provides a link from a "reputable" news source supporting their comments, especially if the comments sound far fetched?


I've read the LTM guidelines for posting comments and there is nothing listed about not including links/sources that support comments, especially ones that sound completely made up.

Loudoun1965

From that perspective, one could conclude that the entire education system nation-wide is sexually biased. If the population of the students in LCPS is 49% male, shouldn't half the teachers be male as well? Wouldn't this be mandated as part of "inclusion," where the student population is proportional to the staff? Should LCPS turn away well qualified white, black, and brown female teachers so that males can fill the roles and ensure diversity? Or does this only apply to women?

I would like to see Brian's evidence that supports his theory that principals "weed out" black candidates. How do they have time if they're so busy recruiting at colleges?

scottva

If I self-identified as a minority would that count towards the quota? I could care less what ethnicity this women is. If she's the best person for the job then hire her if not and the other candidate happens to be white then so be it. Maybe it's me but this whole diversity movement is dumb. "Oh my God this guy's a racist, he hates diversity" some might say. Nope, I'm not racist. If the diversity movement was truly about multiculturalism, then why were so many people ticked off when (2) white people were appointed to the Leesburg Diversity Commission group? You want true diversity? Don't exclude white people, this is the very definition of a bigot. Save your breath on how whites have ruled the world. I'd have more respect for a "movement" if it openly excluded whites rather than hiding behind words like "inclusion" or "multiculturalism" or "minority communities". The word "diversity" is a modern day and socially acceptable way of saying everyone can participate, unless you're white, then there needs to be a discussion. If you're intellectually honest, you'll see my comments have merit. 

(Edited by staff.)

BobOhneiserEsq

Ms. Reaser, I am glad to see a lawyer willing to serve on the school board. PLEASE focus on the authorizing statute: 22.1-79 and realize that the school board is NOT THERE to merely cheerlead whatever the Superintendent puts in front of them. Bubble up management is NOT what the statute is about. Does it really matter to your district how many demographic based hiring decisions are made while the Superintendent refuses to mandate balanced experience among all the schools? How many teachers request transfers to your district versus toward the west each year when they get a chance to move schools? Can you have safe locker rooms when the Superintendent refuses to mandate that coaches and gym teachers don't have to be in locker rooms when the children are there? I suppose if the adults in the school don't see something they can't be held accountable for it! (Tuscarora) Can you truly manage the efficiency and effectiveness of the school system when the mission statement has no measurable deliverables? As a lawyer I hope you can see how hard it is to fire the Superintendent for cause when he has no measurable tasks. Can any school board truly manage the Superintendent when he operates under a 4 year contract that starts midway through the term of the school board ending midway through the next school board? As a lawyer I hope you can see how an annual contract resolves this. I hope you do well for your district and would be glad to share any info I learned over 8 years with all three of my children attending LCPS.

Seamill90

Bob stop being jealous, I bet this woman will do a better job than most of your nonsenses complaints. Yes, she is a woman and a minority Bob, and I know it hurts you, just let it be. This county needs better representation.

More Cowbell

yes, this country needs better representation than what they currently have. Actually, Bob was one of the better School board members. He actually questioned the Superintendent many times on wasteful spending. Ms Reaser seems to be obsessed with 1 area, hiring more diverse teachers. I believe you hire the best teacher, not based on sex, race or religion. I don't see that issue as a top 10 priority in Loudoun county. Number 1 would be budget.

Virginia SGP

Cowbell, totally agree on the budget.

But remember this lady is running against supposed "fiscal conservative" (better described in reality as a RINO) Debbie Rose. Rose has voted for every massive funding increase of LCPS. It is so bad, LCPS can't even spend $40M of the funding they get each year (Rose is so incompetent she can't even properly see exaggeration of requirements). Rose has also approved pay hikes of up to 9% to teachers when her constituents are getting 3% raises despite the fact that we have so many applicants to LCPS, it is harder to get a teaching job offer than to be admitted to our most selective college - UVA.

In light of that, this lady can't do any worse than Rose. And Rose is an abomination on so many other things. Research shows black students perform better with having some black teachers (likely a role model issue) and it doesn't hurt white students. When we are turning down 7 out of 8 black applicants (4 out of 5 whites), it's hard to believe a little more equal representation would hurt and it would certainly help some students.

TheresaG

Our LCPS principal talks about going to colleges to actively recruit, so it seems you may be misinformed. A real word solution is changing that practice, rather than "ideal world' ones or trying to control what colleges do - that's out of a school board's control.

LoudounPulse

I'd be far more concerned with students having the best test scores than the culture or skin color of their teachers. Minority students will eventually filter into the jobs where we want to see more diversity, but first we need to provide them with the education to reach those positions. Arbitrary diversity quotas to appease a political agenda does not serve students in the long run. I'll take the BEST QUALIFIED TEACHER over those who fill a quota any day.

Virginia SGP

Eric Hanushek from Stanford University has done extensive research on whether it is possible to predict the effectiveness of a teacher based on information available on an application/interview. The data clearly show it is not possible. The crude summary of their lesson was to "fire the bad ones quickly (after 2-3 years)".

If you can only determine how well they teach after they are on the job, then claiming you hired the "most qualified" and turning down 5 out of 6 applicants makes no sense. However, LCPS actual policy of firing nobody for ineffective teaching means that we are sentencing a large portion of our students to subpar teaching. We need to look at the data (SGPs, MAP, etc.), retrain/pay the good ones, and replace the ineffective ones.

More Cowbell

I believe the best qualified person should get the job, not based on race, sex or religion. You can't make people apply. Less people going into teaching. And more and more retiring or switching out of teaching because of the many issues these outsiders introduce. Loudoun is/was one of the best school systems.

Virginia SGP

Based on LCPS data, there are enough applicants:

1. To replace 65% of the ENTIRE LCPS teacher corps each and every year.

2. So that LCPS must turn down 6 out of every 7 applicants.

It is a myth spread by teacher unions (LEA) that we don't have enough teaching candidates applying. In some areas where average salaries are near $30K (NC) they may have problems but when avg salaries are $70K with avg compensation greater than $90K (more than the median for an individual), we are literally flooded with applicants who want to replace our current teachers.

Qwertyuiop

Are you allowed back in schools yet?

Loudoun1965

It's a bit concerning to read a person interested in serving on the school board actually believes principals actively recruit from certain colleges. In reality, principals don't recruit at all; this is done by admin in Ashburn through job fairs. While the overwhelming number of teachers in the county come from Virginia schools, particularly JMU and Va Tech, each school has teachers who studied in schools across the country.

The issue of diversity has less to do with how the county hires and more to do with how minority students select their majors. Students across the entire spectrum of races pick a major typically based on interest in the content and potential for income. Education does not fit the second criteria for most, and thus those who are either dedicated teachers from the beginning, either through commonality with a family member or just a feel for the calling, or those who had a great teacher influence their decision, complete the program.

In an ideal world, a school's staff's diversity would be in direct proportion with the students it serves, but this is not possible with how staffing fluctuates from school to school, especially in this county where a majority of one population lives in a certain area and an entirely different ethnic group lives in another. The eastern and western parts of this county are perfect examples. People of similar cultures tend to cluster together.

The incentives need to come from colleges which offer assistance to minority students when necessary while encouraging them to explore education as a major to ensure the diversity in the school reflects its population. Rather than blaming the principals, this candidate should spend some time addressing how colleges encourage their students to enter the field regardless of their backgrounds.

Virginia SGP

Unfortunately for 1965, the data released by LCPS (forced by MSAAC) disproves her point.

1. Approximately 17% of the teaching candidates in Virginia's education schools are black.

2. Approximately 9.3% of LCPS teacher applicants are black.

3. But only 5.3% of teacher applicants hired are black.

4. Whereas white teacher applicants have an 18% chance of being hired, black applicants only have a 12% change of getting hired.

5. It is more difficult for a black teacher applicant to get hired by LCPS than it is for a black student to get admitted to Harvard!!!

Principals are screening out black teaching candidates by a disproportionate amount. And there is no data to support (currently) that these candidates are not capable. When you can pick 1 out of 5 applicants (assuming black applicants were given the same chance as white candidates), it's hard to argue that you would still get poor quality teachers. In fact, all the data tells us you don't know how well the teacher will perform in the interview but only after 2-3 years of experience (at which time they have a job for life at LCPS and some students are sentenced to poor instruction because LCPS cares more about the "rights" of teachers than the ability of kids to have a quality teacher).

Loudoun1965's comments reflect the total disregard for data by nearly everyone in LCPS. It is shameful that ignorance is so highly celebrated in an institution of education. Another reason we need a complete turnover in 2019.

scottva

@Virginia SGP, you said "And there is no data to support (currently) that these candidates are not capable." Is there factual data that says they are capable? You also said: "Principals are screening out black teaching candidates by a disproportionate amount". Where is the data to support this? How many of these principals are black? Race is the most volatile and sensitive topic in the country, if the level of discrimination that you suggest was really going on, why isn't there a flood of discrimination lawsuits? Is it a cabal?

Personally, I could care less about your suggestion of filling quotas for the sake of "diversity". I'm only interested in good, caring and qualified teachers to teach my kids. If they are black, great. If they are hispanic, great. If they are an eskimo, great. And if they are white, great. You provided some interesting stats, but I'd suggest doing some additional research to see what majors blacks gravitate to and you'll discover a few things: 1) Education is NOT in the top 5 majors, 2) Factor in these numbers next time you present your stats and it will provide some insight on why there are less black teachers in the selection pool. Also, maybe, just maybe they aren't qualified, not because they are black but simply because they are not qualified.

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