Rachna Sizemore Heizer Elected Fairfax County School Board Chair; Tamara Derenak Kaufax Elected Vice Chair
The Fairfax County School Board has elected Rachna Sizemore Heizer (Member-at-Large) as chair and Tamara Derenak Kaufax (Franconia District Representative) as vice chair for a one-year term. The chair and vice chair assumed office at the July 14 School Board meeting; they are elected by School Board members during the Board’s annual organizational meeting.
“I am honored to serve as chair of the Fairfax County School Board and look forward to working with our new superintendent to ensure an excellent education for all students and supporting our staff,” said Sizemore Heizer. “I would also like to express my thanks to Stella Pekarsky who served so admirably as chair during the challenges of the past year and to my colleagues for their trust in me. ”
Sizemore Heizer was elected vice chair of the School Board last year. She began her term as one of three At-Large members on Dec. 12, 2019.
She is a college professor, lawyer, and disability justice advocate. As a South Asian American daughter of immigrants, she understands the immigrant experience and hopes to use that experience to be a voice for our growing diverse population of students and families.
Sizemore Heizer brings a passion for strengths focused education, arts education, and robust civics education to her role on the School Board. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy and her law degree from the University of California at Berkeley. She started her career as an attorney practicing corporate law, was a criminal justice professor at George Mason University, and currently oversees a Human Resource minor degree program and teaches college classes in employment law; diversity and cultural competency in the workplace; and American government.
Sizemore Heizer has previously served on the School Board’s Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities and on the board of the Falls Church-Fairfax Community Services Board, provided free trainings to families on effective advocacy, and presented to educational groups on “Strengths-Based Education for Students with Disabilities,” to workplace organizations on “Cultural Competency and Workplace Accommodations for People with Disabilities,” and to political organizations on “Disability Inclusion across Political Movements.” In 2019, she received Fairfax County’s Martha Glennan Disability Inclusion and Equality Award.
Derenak Kaufax is a long-time advocate for children’s causes and education issues with over 20 years of experience as a marketing professional and small business owner.
Derenak Kaufax’s Board service began in January 2012. Her leadership roles on the Board include: serving as the Chair for the Public Engagement Committee in 2012; elected as the Vice Chair for the School Board in 2013 and 2019; elected as the Chair in 2014; serving as the Budget Chair in both 2015 and 2018; serving as the Co-Chair for the Successful Children Youth Policy Team (SCYPT) in 2016 and 2018; serving as the Chair for the Governance Committee in 2017; and serving as the Governance Chair in 2021.
“I am both humbled and honored to have this opportunity to serve our Board”, said Ms. Derenak Kaufax. “I will work to bring out the strengths and leadership abilities in each of us, so we can be the best Board possible.”
Derenak Kaufax has served with the Fairfax County Childcare Advisory Council (former chair); Superintendent’s Business and Community Advisory Council; School Board’s Advanced Academic Programs Advisory Committee; Parent Linkage Committee; Fairfax Citizens for Better Schools Committee; Lee District Budget Advisory Council; Springfield Estates Elementary School PTA (vice president); Springfield Estates and Bush Hill Elementary Schools’ PTA (cultural arts chair); AGC Pre-School (board member and chair); and Make-a-Wish Foundation (wish granter).
In addition to the chair and vice chair, members of the Fairfax County School Board, whose terms run from 2020 to 2023, are: Karen Keys-Gamarra (at-large), Abrar Omeish (at-large), Megan McLaughlin (Braddock District), Elaine Tholen (Dranesville District), Melanie Meren (Hunter Mill District), Ricardy Anderson (Mason District), Karen Corbett Sanders (Mount Vernon District), Karl Frisch (Providence District), Laura Jane Cohen (Springfield District), and Stella Pekarsky (Sully District).