James Lander speaks to school children

An effective school system needs a strong “Stakeholders’ Triangle” that brings together schools, parents, and the broader community.  Together, we help students achieve their greatest potential.

In my first term as your school board member, I engaged these stakeholders and utilized a student-centered approach in my work.  My guiding principle is that ALL students will succeed, regardless of race, economic status, ethnicity, gender, language or disability.

My contributions, perspectives, and initiatives during my first term have enhanced the board’s work on our school priorities and policies.  My focus areas include:

(Click to jump to each section)

Read on to learn about my priorities in each of these areas.

Expanding critical programs in our schools

Spearheading the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) focus in Arlington Public Schools by:

  • Supporting the expansion of STEM offerings at the Governor’s Career and Technical Academy at the Career Center.
  • Initiating the effort to implement the STEM focus at Hoffman Boston and Taylor Elementary School.
  • Supporting the renovation of the David M. Brown Planetarium.

Supporting and funding the first comprehensive Evaluation of Services for Students with Special Needs that now serves as a blueprint for better identifying their needs and improving effective delivery of services to these students.

Initiating the annual Color of Leadership Conference, which provides gender-focused mentoring and leadership opportunities for middle school students.

Advocating for the funding of the first county-wide elementary school level minority achievement coordinator enabling APS to focus resources on students at the critical age when the achievement gap is first revealed.

Advocating for an increasingly diverse pool of talented educators to reflect APS’ student population, resulting in an increase in the hiring of male educators.

Supporting the expansion of world language opportunities at the elementary school level at Barrett, Campbell, Carlin Springs and Drew.

Expanding pre-kindergarten classes for more students in Arlington.


Empowering parents to be active participants in their children’s education

Advocating for expansion of the College Summit Program for first-generation college bound students to include all high school grade levels.

Supporting the use of Language Line Services that help staff more effectively communicate with non-English speaking families.

Supporting the creation of the Multimodal Transportation Student Safety Special Committee, which includes four parent representatives.


Engaging our community to support our schools and students

Improving collaboration with the Arlington County Board to ensure our school system has the necessary resources to remain one of the top performing districts in the nation.

Supporting building and renovation projects at Wakefield High School and Jefferson Middle School.

Developing a strategic partnership with National Organization for Black Chemist and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) to support STEM education and teacher development

Targeting increased student enrollment by creating a long-term budget and capital planning framework.

Supporting the expansion of access to school facilities for the broader Arlington community.


In my second term as your school board member, I will use my effective leadership skills and broad experience with Arlington Public Schools, parents and the broader community to address the major priorities before us.  I will do this by maximizing resources to expand instructional opportunities and facilities for our growing student population, working to close the achievement gap and increasing educational success for all students.