UPDATED: Incumbent Chair Babur Lateef Wins Prince William School Board Race

Retained nearly 1/2 of all votes in three-way race


Prince William County School Board Chair (Incumbent) Babur Lateef appears to be the winner of the school board race and will retain his seat. According to the preliminary numbers, Lateef won his seat with 49.53% of votes in a three-way race.

Lateef had the backing of the Democratic Party.  

Notably, during his tenure, Lateef provided significant raises to teachers and faculty, voted in favor of the PWEA becoming a union that could bargain collectively, led the school division during the COVID shutdown, and hired the new superintendent Dr. LaTanya McDade.  Additionally, he increased school security, provided laptops for all students, opened new schools and updated older schools. 

Chairman - School Board

(Prince William County)

Babur B. Lateef                                                    49.53%             57,349
Caroline M. "Carrie" Rist                                40.92%      47,387
Kimberly B. Mehlman-Orozco                      9.19%          10,640
Write-In                                                                   0.36%        421
About Babur Lateef
Lateef, who is an ophthalmologist and owner of Advanced Opthalmology, was first elected school board chair in 2018 via a special election. He has served continually since 2019.  He is a husband and father of four children who attend Prince William County Public Schools. 
Born to immigrants, Dr. Babur Lateef grew up in Youngstown Ohio and moved to Prince William County in 2002. Babur attended public schools from grade school to medical school. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Youngstown State University and his MD from Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine.
Babur serves on the University of Virginia  Board of Visitors and SPARK Foundation Board; is an active member of all of his children's PTOs; and was selected for Governor Ralph Northam’s Transition Team. Babur also runs a successful ophthalmology practice in Prince William County.

During his tenure

Babur led the school board during the contentious time during the pandemic shutdown. Controversially, Babur advocated for schools to reopen sooner than Superintendent Steven Walts recommended. Babur took some criticism from teachers and members of his party but won some support among independents and Republicans along the way. 

Although Lateef advocated for making PWEA into a collective bargaining body, he did not receive the endorsement of the PWEA. Its leadership criticized him for not offering them more of a part in contract negotiations. 

This Election

In this election, the hot-button political issue was "parental rights" versus students' rights. Lateef's campaign was bolstered by his Democratic values, such as promoting and protecting equity and inclusivity, especially among LGBTQ+ students and staff. 

As a progressive, voters assumed Lateef would trust the professionals in their choice of books and classroom materials. The stance of the Democratic party is that educators chose the material for a reason, so while parents can opt their children out, they should not censure the material for everyone's child. 

Challenges facing the school board is that students are still rebounding following Covid and schools are working hard to improve performance and test scores.

Another aim is to close the achievement gap that exists among students of different economic backgrounds, racial and ethnic groups, and especially those for whom English is not their primary language. 

Finally, like many other districts around the nation, Prince William County is experiencing a teacher shortage. Lateef believes investing in educators will help bolster PWCS schools, resulting in a better experience for educators and students. 

"As Chairman, Babur will continue to work towards closing the academic achievement gap so that all students can reach their full potential, fix and update our schools' aging infrastructure, ensure our staff is properly trained to secure our campuses and increase teacher salaries to guarantee Prince William has the best educators in Virginia," Lateef said on his campaign webpage. 


Babar Lateef, school board, Prince William County, election