The McLean Community Center Governing Board campaign will feature nine adults running for three seats and a competitive race for one of the two youth seats on the ballot.
Governing Board members set policy and establish a budget for the McLean Community Center, Alden Theatre and Old Firehouse Center. Adult board members serve three-year terms; youth terms are for one year.
Voting will take place on McLean Day, to be held on Saturday, May 21 at Lewinsville Park. Early voting currently is open and will run through May 18.
Write-in votes are accepted.
Statements of candidacy for those seeking adult seats on the Governing Board, as provided by the center:
Anna Bartosiewicz: My name is Anna Bartosiewicz, and I am excited to bring an international perspective to the MCC board. My family is multilingual and multicultural, and I work hard every day to instill a sense of curiosity and acceptance in my two daughters. As a board member, I would work to create an inclusive space where everyone in our community is welcome to contribute and participate, enriching us all. In my work as a consultant, my most successful projects fostered consensus through facilitation, an approach I look forward to using as we make every voice heard during the decision-making process.
Debra Butler: I moved to McLean 17+ years ago. It’s been a marvelous place to raise a family, and my children have had a wonderful life here. Part of that is McLean Community Center. It’s time for me to give back now that they are grown! I’m interested in bringing in art events that incorporate younger participants to the theater, like open-mic music and comedy. I’m also interested in cultural innovations that incorporate the rich tapestry of our diverse community from around the world. And the restoration of our greenspace and helping to advance an enriched Central Park. I’d love your support.
Ari Ghasemian: My name is Ari Ghasemian, and I’m running for the McLean Community Center Governing Board this year. As a product of public education – from Chesterbrook Elementary School to the University of Virginia – I know firsthand the role institutions like the Community Center play as a hometown’s anchors. I seek to serve on the MCC Governing Board in order to be a steward of the values that make McLean the vibrant community we are: respect for difference, giving back and the belief that we can all learn something new from one another.
Katie Gorka: I moved to McLean with my family in 2008, and I found it to be a wonderful place to raise our young children. Now that they are older and out of the house, I wanted to find a way to give back to the community. I always enjoyed the events at the McLean Community Center and feel it is a great asset. As a member of the board, I would help ensure that programming represents all members of the McLean community and that it responsibly stewards funds and other resources that are entrusted to it by members of our community.
Kristina Groennings: I grew up less than a mile from McLean Community Center. I attended theater classes and arts programs there and performed on stage. It would be an honor to participate on the board to ensure that the same opportunities that were afforded me, continue to be available to residents. It’s vitally important that we foster a sense of community, by presenting quality programming and opening MCC’s doors to civic and cultural activities. I would bring arts experience as a former concert pianist, policy and board experience as former lead counsel to PBS and experience as counsel to major entertainment companies.
Lauren S. Kahn: I have lived in McLean since 1976. My townhome is about five minutes by car from the MCC. My kids attended Fairfax public schools. My son got his start in dramatics in the MCC children’s play with lead roles in two successive years. I am opposed to the interference of the culture wars in this election. I believe that funds could be better spent on programs for our diverse constituencies rather than spending $250,000 on electric vehicle chargers in the parking lot so that a few people can charge their EV’s at public expense.
James Lawless: I’m a lifelong resident of McLean. I was in the first class at McLean High School, where I met my wife Barbara in Latin. We were married while I was in law school. I spent my profession as a lawyer for NOAA. We lived in Scotts Run where I was HOA president. Barbara and I strongly supported the establishment of McLean Community Center in 1972. Since her death in 2014, I’ve lived in King’s Manor and served as HOA president. I serve on the Board of McLean Citizens Association. If elected, I will work to improve programs, outreach and participation.
Maire Shine: Born and raised in McLean, I want to give back to our community by shaping its future while honoring the traditions that make McLean so special. I have always appreciated the MCC for uniting and enriching the lives of the McLean community by offering diverse and engaging activities for all. I hope to carry those efforts forward as a member of its Governing Board, building on my foundation of community engagement as a longtime volunteer with McLean youth sports. If elected, I would serve as an energetic, collaborative Board member who understands the importance of preserving McLean’s sense of community.
Ishah “Laurah Guillen” Wright: I’m one of the few publicly known CIA. My teacher frequented this community, so it is comfortable for us publicly known CIA types being around here. The word “intelligence” in Central Intelligence Agency, means high IQ. All CIA employees are chosen for being the world’s top IQ (smart level), so we’re the best at anything (even center improvements). I’ve direct access to top rich and famous, giving me greater fundraising capability legally, and to place our students in movies. As a visual artist, I relate to visual art aspects of our center. I want to give back to the community.
Candidates for the youth seat from the McLean High School attendance area are:
Max Blacksten: I am honored to be in candidacy for reelection to the MCC Governing Board. I want the opportunity to continue serving on the center’s Governing Board because I want to be able to influence policies at the MCC and Old Firehouse, and I feel that I have the skills and experience working on the Governing Board over the past year to bring even more impactful change in 2022 and 2023. Outside of the MCC, I am highly qualified to serve due to the diverse set of leadership skills I have attained through my extracurricular activities. Thank you for your consideration.
Saran Tran: My name is Sarah Tran, and I am honored to be a candidate for the McLean Governing Board. McLean has been excellent to me, and I view this position as an opportunity to contribute to such a friendly and welcoming community. I have led numerous activities that brought teens together and foster fellowship through nonprofit organizations, school clubs and honor societies. What I enjoy most is working with others who have the same goals in mind, and it is my belief that alongside the governing board, we will achieve the common goal of improving McLean for all of its residents.
Only one youth candidate – Charlotte Loving – filed for the youth seat representing the Langley High School attendance area. Her statement of candidacy: For as long as I can remember, I’ve been going to McLean Community Center. Whether it was watching a play or taking classes, the center has been part of my whole life. I’m very familiar with McLean and I have friends in both the McLean and Langley districts through softball, church and other activities. I’m president of the Langley Nice Cream Club and it has taught me how to lead and plan along with how to make and achieve goals. Since the center has been a big part of my past, I’d like to be a part of its future.
For additional information on the election and the Governing Board, see the Website at www.mcleancenter.org.