Priorities & Issues

Parents Need to Be Heard 

As a parent of three children at Cora Kelly Elementary School, D. Ohlandt understands what’s happening in schools on a daily basis and is well-connected with other parents and with educators.

  • Parent Input: When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Northern Virginia in 2020, the school board and administration faced challenging decisions that significantly impacted families. Having parents with students currently in ACPS on the school board is critical– parents who understand the immediate impact of school board decisions and who are invested in the near future of Alexandria schools.
  • Communication: As a parent, D understands that families need clear, accurate information from their school system, whether faced with an imminent crisis or simply trying to plan their schedules. They need to be able to rely on receiving news on time. In academic, volunteer, and professional capacities, D has worked to open lines of communication between leaders and constituents and faculty and students. As a writer, editor, and writing coach, D knows the importance of language and the value of communication.

Connecting Schools to Communities

Schools are not just located in our communities, they are a vital reflection of our communities: what’s good for our schools is good for our communities, and what is good for our communities is good for our schools. D. Ohlandt will work to build new connections and strengthen existing ones between what happens in our school buildings and what happens in the streets and neighborhoods of Alexandria.

  • Field Trips & Experiential Opportunities for all students: Alexandria City and its surrounding areas are rich with opportunities for pre-K-12 students to see and engage with places, people, and processes they are studying in our schools. When field trips and after-school clubs are dependent on funding from PTAs, though, students at some schools have access to important opportunities that students at other schools do not. D will advocate for division-wide support for field trips, after-school activities, and experiential opportunities in and with our resource-rich communities.
  • Mentoring Future Citizens: D will seek ways for ACPS to nurture preK-12 students’ place in the community through professional and personal mentorship experiences, citizenship education, and cross-generational volunteer opportunities in the community.
  • Safe Routes to Schools: As a supporter of Safe Routes to Schools, D will work with the city to protect and enhance our students’ means of getting to and from school safely and independently. Safe sidewalks, road crossings, and protected bike paths throughout our neighborhoods can foster independence in ACPS students, provide exercise and outdoor time, relieve vehicle transportation costs for parents and schools, and enhance our neighborhoods for everyone, not just families with school-aged children.

Every Student Succeeds… With Differentiated Instruction and Equitable Access to Enrichment

Every student brings to school a different set of learning styles, challenges, cultural and family backgrounds, and strengths. D. Ohlandt understands the necessity of individualized education for everyone and the resources required to equip educators to provide it. She is passionate about creating opportunities and equity for all Alexandria students.

  • Respect and Support for Teachers: D’s expertise in administration, leadership, and research make her an ideal candidate to help ACPS access and implement evidence-based curriculum and best practices in instruction. D believes our teachers are professionals with the specific training and skills to make informed choices about their teaching. D has worked for several years on ACPS school board advisory committees to emphasize the importance of providing teachers with the resources and the support to adapt lessons for the range of students in their classrooms.
  • Attracting and Retaining Teachers: Setting up teachers and students for success means attracting, supporting, and retaining the best educational staff we can get, which requires competitive pay and benefits for teachers and support staff. D supports annual step increases and rectifying the step levels of staff who have not been properly advanced in prior years. D acknowledges that support staff are essential to delivering high-quality individualized instruction to students and to attracting and retaining excellent teachers. She supports adjusting salaries for support staff to reflect skills and competencies gained through on-the-job experience and continuing education.
  • Equitable Co-Curricular Enrichment: Books, pencils, and even screens can be fundamental tools for education, but students need to have multi-sensory and experiential opportunities to practice using what they learn. D is committed to providing opportunities for all students, regardless of the funds available through their PTA, to take field trips, participate in school gardens, work in laboratories, practice for public performances, get involved in after-school activities, and undertake meaningful internships.

Progressive, Creative, Knowledgeable Leadership

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that unexpected challenges will always arise and that school systems must be flexible, agile, and open-minded in their responses, which requires leaders who are creative and broadly knowledgeable. D. Ohlandt is experienced in leading teams through difficult times and knows the power of strong collective leadership.  

  • Collaborative Leadership: With a background in training leadership teams, D is uniquely equipped to foster collaboration within the ACPS school board so they are prepared to address unexpected challenges creatively and innovatively, be willing to make decisions quickly, and be open to the possibility of change as circumstances demand it. 
  • Effective Policy: D’s professional experience includes expertise in policy governance, the unique method of governance employed by the ACPS school board. As a trained facilitator, D has spent years leading groups and training others in strategies to build consensus. She is ready to use these skills in service to the school board.
  • Progressive Values: D is a lifelong progressive who has stood up for equal rights for people with marginalized racial and cultural identities, women and girls, and LGBTQ+ people. Her work with the school board will be grounded in the principles of anti-racism, equity, and inclusion, and most particularly in continuing the ongoing work of building these principles in herself.