Red Apple Mom

July 1, 2011

A Black Eye for the Fairfax County Council of PTAs

You know the old saying, “No good deed goes unpunished?”

Well PTA volunteers – beware.  You might be a “volunteer,” but if Fairfax County Public Schools perceives you as a threat to their power, you could be “fired” from your position as a PTA volunteer.

I know of what I speak because it happened to me four years ago.

And it happened again yesterday to a well-known FCCPTA volunteer, Sheree Brown-Kaplan, who also happens to be running for an At-Large School Board seat in Fairfax County.

Last night, executive board members of the FCCPTA met in “emergency” session to remove this dedicated and accomplished volunteer whose work has not only raised the profile of FCCPTA, but focused statewide attention on special education issues up to the Governor’s office.

The reason for Sheree’s removal?

I’m really not clear on this.

And based on the FCCPTA’s vote of 12 to 8 to remove Brown-Kaplan from her volunteer FCCPTA position , and from her position on the Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities, it appears at least eight FCCPTA executive board members felt the action was wrong.

Sheree Brown-Kaplan – sent out a campaign announcement and fundraising letter about her School Board candidacy to friends and colleagues she has worked with on special ed issues.  (Sheree Brown-Kaplan letter -click here)

Candidates are permitted to solicit donations, and Sheree Brown-Kaplan followed the letter of the law.

  • Sheree used her PERSONAL letterhead – not FCCPTA letterhead – to send her fundraising letter.
  • Sheree used her PERSONAL email account – not her FCCPTA email address – to send her fundraising letter.
  • Sheree signed her fundraising letter – Candidate for At-Large School Board.  She did NOT sign using her FCCPTA title.
  • Sheree sent her fundraising letter to people she has corresponded with at one time or another about special education issues.  She did NOT use a purportedly-sponsored FCCPTA list-serve to send her letter.

FCCPTA had no real justification to remove this highly regarded volunteer. The tentacles of their authority do not reach into every sector of a member’s personal life outside of FCCPTA.

One would think the FCCPTA would be proud to have one of their outstanding and accomplished volunteers running for School Board.

So what, exactly, was FCCPTA’s motivation to essentially “fire” a well-known special ed parent volunteer?

I’m betting it’s political.

Guess who has voting power on the FCCPTA executive board? Fairfax County Public Schools — that’s who. And an FCPS official was present and voting at last night’s “emergency” County Council of PTAs meeting.

Yep – FCCPTA’s tentacles do reach long and far and they appear to share a head with FCPS.  What FCPS wants, FCPS tries to get.  And FCPS clearly does not want a mover and shaker like Sheree Brown-Kaplan getting electing to the School Board.

That alone makes me like Sheree Brown-Kaplan’s candidacy all the more.  Anyone who has FCPS administration running scared has my vote.

So go get ‘em Sheree. Show this community how you won’t be a another rubber-stamper on the School Board for the Superintendent and his staff!


  1. FCPS was involved in this, but not in the way suggested. This organized campaign against Sheree Brown-Kaplan came from the School Board’s Advisory Committee for Students With Disabilities. It has been going on for years. Previous attempts by ACSD “leaders” to get the FCCPTA to withdraw Sheree’s appointment were met with immediate rejections by the previous FCCPTA president. The special FCCPTA meeting took place because the organization was threatened with an IRS investigation, among other things, by a member of the ACSD who did not receive a nomination for chair or vice chair of the committee. Guess who the chair of the nominating committee was until June 30? Yep, Sheree Brown-Kaplan! This ACSD member/accuser did not even receive one of Sheree’s candidacy announcements, but waged this battle to force her resignation by July 1. Coincidence that the ACSD election meeting will occur during July? I think not. Sheree Brown-Kaplan was right, told the truth and stood up to the bullies. FCCPTA caved.

    Comment by watchdogparent — July 2, 2011 @ 3:53 am

  2. Yes, indeed, go get ’em Sheree! I am familiar with her tireless and well-informed advocacy. She will make an excellent school board member as she already knows how the system works. She has my vote–I do hope she gets the Fairfax R’s endorsement (remember, school board member is a non-partisan position, but to realistically win, a candidate needs the endorsement of one of the parties).

    Comment by pommefrites — July 3, 2011 @ 9:10 am

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