Shawn Brann Candidate for Brentsville School Board Rep Is Running on Experience

| August 26, 2019 | 0 Comments | Education

Shawn Brann, a candidate for Brentsville District representative to the Prince William County School Board, believes he is prepared for the job.

Many know Brann served as the Brentsville Acting School Board from Sept. 2016 – Oct. 2017. Before that period, Brann accumulated ample experience in service to Prince William County Schools, making him an obvious choice to temporarily replace Brentsville School Board representative Gil Trenum.

Brann, who lives in Gainesville, taught English at Woodbridge Senior High School from 1999 until 2006. Upon leaving teaching, Brann remained an involved parent in his children’s education. Channeling his passion for education and knowledge of Prince William County Schools, he volunteered often at his children’s schools and joined various PWCS committees.

Over the past 10 years, he served on school naming committees, boundary committees, advisory councils, principal and vice-principal interviewing panels and on the Brentsville-Gainesville District advisory budget committee. He served as the Chairman of the PWCS Safe School Advisory Council from 2015-2016 and currently serves on the Patriot High School Principal’s Advisory Committee. Additionally, he was a volunteer youth soccer coach and adult leader for a local Cub Scouts Pack. He is the member of the Patriot High School Booster Club, representing the Women’s Field Hockey Team. 

Brann also brings experience as a PWCS parent of children moving from kindergarten through high school within the Brentsville District. His daughter attended Glenkirk Elementary and moved to Piney Branch Elementary upon its opening. His son, who also attended Piney Branch,  now attends Gainesville Middle School, where his daughter also attended before progressing to Patriot High School.  

Serving on the board prepared him like no other experience, said Brann, and he served on the school board at a pivotal time for the Brentsville District, and he feels he made lasting contributions. 

As a former teacher, being able to provide teachers and staff with raises as well as providing additional raises for school nurses. 

“One of the items that is near and dear to me as a former teacher at PWCS is teacher salaries.” If teachers were compensated to the same degree of other professions, “I would still be a teacher,” he said. 

This year, he is very happy that the budget allowed for steps plus the cost of living increase [COLA] and would aim for PWCS to continue to do so. 

As an Acting School Board member, Brann worked towards getting students out of trailers and into schools. He voted to expand the 13th high school, adding 500 more seats. According to Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland, this saved the school division $150 million or more by eliminating the need for a 16th high school in the next decade. 

However, Brann recognizes that on the eastern end of the county, schools are now overcrowded. He would like to expedite moving students out of trailers whenever possible. 

Something many people do not know about Brann is he does not belong to any political party. During his time on the board, Brann was interested in working well with everyone. 

“Justin Wilk and I have a great rapport,” he said, of the Potomac School Board representative who is also a former teacher. He notes they did not always agree, but they were able to respect each other and consider each other’s points of view. 

Brann also hopes to bring his unique perspective as a teacher to the board. He believes that the school administration and the school board should demonstrate effective leadership. He has already had many productive conversations with principals and teachers around the district and wants to promote mentor teachers to help guide the new generation of teachers. 

And he wants the school board to lead the way, which is one reason he proposed the school board operate under a code of ethics and he supported a student position on the school board. 

When Brann was wrapping up his teaching, standardized testing was becoming more prevalent in the state and county. From the perspective of a parent, he sees the stress it places on students. He supports lessening the burden of standardized tests.

He also wants to address the problem of older infrastructure and demographics with economic needs. “I think it’s definitely a topic that we should think about and discuss.”

“I was very impressed by the passion of the Stonewall Jackson High School students and the faculty at their school,” said Brann, who attended all the boundary and community meetings regarding the 13th high school. “As a result of their advocacy some changes are being made,” said Brann. 

Those improvements are already underway at SJHS. Brann notes Woodbridge Sr. High School, also received improvements after community members advocated for it. He encourages residents to become active and look out for their schools.  

“Brentsville District High School, that’s our oldest school in the county. That another school where we can see what improvements we can make,” Brann said. 

As a representative of all students, Brann said he would protect all students. He did not vote for adding LGBTQ students to the non-discrimination policy when he was an acting member the board, but that was due to the fact he did not know how the policy would be implemented because that was never defined. 

“It was not based on animosity for a certain group of people,” and he believes he made that clear during that meeting. Now he defends the policy change, saying if more teachers and students feel protected by it, “than it was definitely a step in the right direction.”

Finally, Brann is appreciative of the endorsements he has received. He is thankful to be the choice of the Prince William Republican Committee and says that it is a good fit because in many ways he is more conservative than liberal. (The local Democratic Party has endorsed Adele Jackson.)

Prince William Education Association has also endorsed him, and Brann said he definitely values the PWEA, how it advocates for Prince William County teachers and students.

For more information on Shawn Brann and his campaign visit his website brann4brentsville.com.

© 2019, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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Category: Education

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