Alexandria School Board member Arthur Peabody (D) kicked off his campaign for City Council on Sunday at the by touting changes in the city’s school system and suggesting the role of the city’s Office of Planning and Zoning be re-examined.
A two-term member of the school board, Peabody said he was proud of the revisions that have taken place in the Alexandria City Public Schools system since the hiring of Superintendent Morton Sherman in 2008.
Peabody said Sherman was hired to make Alexandria “a model” school system.
“And with the school board’s support, that’s what we’re doing,” Peabody said. “We have to make the schools better, but we have to ruffle some feathers and change things.”
He acknowledged the revealed in an independent audit, but said the issues are being remedied.
“Changes have been implemented, heads have rolled,” Peabody said. “It’s nothing to be proud of but something needed to be done.”
Peabody said he is leading the charge to fix these problems and that he and the rest of the school board are awaiting the results of a second audit before deciding how to proceed.
During his remarks, Peabody also said he’d like to see the role of the city’s Planning and Zoning Department be re-examined.
“Large buildings are being built and there are plans for more,” Peabody said. “Many people feel left out and letdown.”
Peabody said he’d like to give council more decision-making authority in determining the amount of density—and move it away from Planning and Zoning—to ensure that development is balanced on community participation.
“I will ask tough questions to ensure Alexandria is a leader in managing density, traffic and development,” Peabody said.
A Massachusetts native, Peabody has called Alexandria home since 1972. He currently lives on N. Quaker Lane and is the father of two graduates. He serves as associate counsel with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and is a retired attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Peabody serves as a board member with Alexandria Senior Services and the Alexandria Bar Association, and has served on the School Board Budget Advisory Committee.
Patsy Ticer, former Alexandria mayor and state senator, offered her endorsement of Peabody on Sunday.
“He is going to be consistent in his decision making to move Alexandria forward as he has been doing on the school board and with senior services,” Ticer said.
Peabody is one of 14 Democrats running for council. Six nominees will be chosen during a primary scheduled for June 12.