Karen Keys-Gamarra

Karen Keys-Gamarra

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Elected in 2017 and re-elected in 2019, Karen Keys-Gamarra (she/her/hers) is one of three At-Large School Board Members of the Fairfax County School Board. In this role, she currently serves as Chair of the Comprehensive Planning Development Committee. She is also a member of the Board Audit Committee and serves as a liaison to the Title I Parent Advisory Committee, the Planning Commission, and Educate Fairfax, formerly named the Foundation for Fairfax County Public Schools. During her two-year tenure as Chair of the Audit Committee (2019-2021), she expanded the duties of the Auditor General to include a study and review of the FCPS special education programs.

A graduate of Tulane University and Washington University School of Law, Karen is an experienced attorney who currently handles family law matters and works as a court-appointed Guardian ad Litem in Northern Virginia representing the best interests of children from diverse backgrounds. As an attorney and as a school board member, Karen focuses on developing solutions for children and families. Her work on the board includes:

  • Advocating for equity and quality education issues, including current efforts to establish the John R. Lewis Academy for Public Service, Government and Human Rights at John Lewis High School;
  • Improving special education services and inclusion practices;
  • Addressing discipline disparities;
  • Improving services to our military-connected students;
  • Championing programs and initiatives to support the mental health and emotional well-being of all students;
  • Increasing teacher pay; and
  • Expanding funding sources. 

Karen has a thorough understanding of how state and local agencies can work to improve the lives of children and families. She has worked at the state level, worked for nonprofit organizations, and in private practice. She also served as a Fairfax County Planning Commissioner (schools committee member) prior to joining the School Board. As a volunteer, she served as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children and also worked to combat domestic violence as an advisory board member for a nonprofit organization. She was formerly an appointed member to the School Board Budget Task Force.

Karen and her husband are the proud parents of three sons who attended FCPS through elementary, middle, and high school. She continues to focus on community service to improve the lives of children and families. 

Current term expires 12/31/23.