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Twelve District Residents Have Qualified to Run for Seats on
McLean Community Center’s 2017-2018 Governing Board

Three Adult, Two Teen Positions Available

McLean Community Center (MCC) has certified 12 Dranesville Small District 1A residents, six adults and six teens, to run for seats on the MCC 2017–2018 Governing Board. The board sets policy and provides general oversight for all facilities and programs of the Center, including the Robert Ames Alden Theatre and the Old Firehouse Teen Center. MCC’s Ingleside Ave. facility is currently under renovation. Administrative Offices are temporarily located at 6631 Old Dominion Dr.

Residents of Dranesville Small District 1A are eligible to vote during the election.  Voting for Governing Board members will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, at the McLean Day 2017 festival at Lewinsville Park, 1659 Chain Bridge Rd. Residents also may vote by absentee ballot from Monday, April 10, through Wednesday, May 17.

Three adult positions and two youth positions are open this year. The adult candidates who receive the three-highest vote counts will serve three-year (3) terms. Youth candidates, one from the McLean High School boundary area and one from the Langley High School boundary area, will serve one-year (1) terms. Youth candidates do not have to attend these schools to serve on the board.

Adult Candidate Personal Statements

 Cecelia Duran web

Cecilia Duran

Hello, everyone. My name is Cecilia Duran, and I wanted to seize an opportunity to serve the community I have called home for 30 years. I grew up here, worked here, attended the local schools, and now my own children do, too. I have been an attorney for over a decade; it’s a job I love because it teaches me to wear many hats. I currently juggle my work with the care of my young children, and my husband’s military career. These days I am in and out of the McLean Community Center several times a week, so when I saw the call for candidates to join the board it seemed natural that I step forward and offer my time to one of our community havens. I know how much the community center means to you, because it means so much to us, too. Just in the past year, my whole family has attended various events sponsored by the McLean Community Center: music concerts, cultural presentations, ballet classes, exercise and even writing classes.

Thank you for taking the time to read my statement and for your support. I look forward to seeing everyone on McLean Day!
Email: duranmccboard@gmail.com

 Lissy John web
Elizabeth John

I am incredibly proud to be a resident of McLean, and grateful to have benefited from the classes and events that the MCC provides me and my family. I know firsthand that a strong community center can bring together and strengthen a community, because I see the role MCC plays in McLean.

I am running for a seat on the Governing Board of the MCC because of my passion for stimulating programs for all ages, as well as my interest in supporting the major and upcoming renovation. 

I have three children under the age of five, who have attended or will attend programs at the MCC. The programs for children are strong, and I’d like to further diversify them by adding more science, computer and language immersion options that I think are incredibly important for our children’s futures.

For adults and teenagers, I’d like to add more programs that teach the life skills we all want and need—for example, self defense, how to change a tire and your oil, etiquette, basic handyman skills and nutrition.

And I want to support the community center renovation, by using my experiences as a chemical engineer, buyer and management consultant. I’ve been involved in construction programs, in my role as an engineer, to ensure that they were delivered on time and with the right quality. I’ve had to negotiate multi-million dollar contracts and manage them for good performance. And I’ve served hundreds of clients to ensure they were getting the expertise we promised and also that they were being listened to.

I hope to bring all my experiences as McLean resident, businesswoman and mother to represent the needs of the McLean community.

Thank you for reading my Personal Statement. I hope that I have the opportunity to serve you. 
Email: lissyjohn@gmail.com

 Raj Mehra web 2
Raj Mehra

I am running for a seat on the McLean Community Center board because I care deeply about the community. My family has been residents of McLean since 2003 and my wife and daughters grew up in McLean. We are supporters of the McLean Project for the Arts, I have served for the last five years on the board of the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce and when my children were younger, I was a coach for McLean Youth Soccer and McLean basketball. The charm of McLean is what I treasure most, and I want to help preserve this.
Email: rmehra123@yahoo.com
 Brittany Oates web
Brittany R. Oates

I am excited by the prospect of giving back to our beautiful community and serving on MCC’s Board of Directors. I hope to both maintain and improve the Center’s diverse activities, events and programs. As the very heart of our neighborhood, the Center inspires all of our families. For our three children, it’s made McLean a marvelous place to grow up, explore and spread their wings. I want to continue to support its tradition of excellence and ensure that the MCC remains a beacon of our community that serves all of our residents. I respectfully ask for your vote!
Email: brittanyoates@gmail.com
 Alicia Plerhoples web

Alicia Plerhoples

I am an educator, nonprofit lawyer, wife and mother. My two daughters attend Chesterbrook Elementary School and I am active on the Chesterbrook PTA. I believe that an inclusive, active and engaged community is a prosperous and safe community. My family regularly visits the McLean Community Center, where my daughters take dance classes and we attend performances at The Alden.

I would like to contribute my legal expertise to the Governing Board. I am law professor at Georgetown Law where I teach an experiential course. My students and I represent small businesses and nonprofits (including arts and community nonprofits) on legal issues, such as contracts, financing, leasing, licensing and permitting. If elected, I will use my expertise to steward the successful completion of the Community Center renovation. I will also work to ensure that the Community Center’s classes and events continue to be visible and draw in the community at its temporary locations during the renovation.

When the center re-opens, I would like to enhance the small business and nonprofit class offerings for both teens and adults. I envision MCC holding seminars on how to launch and manage a small business or nonprofit. MCC would partner with local small businesses and nonprofits to tap into their expertise.

I would also advocate for more MCC events that bring the community together for socialization on a regular basis. For example, many of the surrounding communities have weekly music in the park series each summer. MCC could have a weekly music in the park series as well. This would be an excellent way to draw more of our community to MCC.

Thank you for your support and vote!
Email: aplerhoples@gmail.com
Website: www.plerhoplesformclean.org

 Julie Waters web

Julie Waters

As a board member, I’ll work hard to continue growing our community. I am an attorney, and served in the active Army for 12 years. When I left active service, my husband and I were thrilled to find McLean and make it our long-term home. In the Army, I gained experience in leadership, criminal and administrative law, and working with a team. I now stay home with our two children during the day, and serve in the Army Reserve. I would love to give back by representing the citizens of McLean in making MCC an even better resource for everyone.
Email: julie.waters8@gmail.com
Website: www.julieformclean.org

Langley High School Boundary Area Candidates   
 Alex Camus web
Alex Camus

I am running for the Board because I care about this community. I have spent the last seven years in McLean, and I am convinced of our area’s responsibility to reach out to and provide for our residents. I serve on a leadership team at my church, and try to lead by example when I run for track or play in the band at Langley. My hope as a candidate for the MCC Governing Board is that I can improve upon the opportunities brought forth to McLean residents in any way possible.
Email: alexecamus@gmail.com
 Brian Kim

Brian Kim

Hello, my name is Brian and I am a student at Langley High School. I am running for a position on the Governing Board to become an active member of my community.

I have had previous experiences as a campaign organizer at the Fairfax County Democratic Committee and as an intern and advisor for the medical board at Sejong Geriatric Hospital. These experiences have provided me with leadership and communication skills, which have inspired me to share my ideas with others.

I believe these skills should help me excel at the new responsibilities included in the position on the board. At Langley, I am a member of the Debate Team and Varsity Golf Team. Consequently, I have always loved to collaborate with others to discuss matters that are crucial to fulfilling a certain obligation. I am not only interested in working with professionals and other students but also eager to participate in the administration of McLean.

Most importantly, acquiring the position at the McLean Community Center would allow me to receive confidence in my leadership ability and passion for helping my community.
Email: briankim315@gmail.com

McLean High School Boundary Area Candidates  
 Caroline Brunner web
Caroline Brunner

I am a junior currently attending McLean High School and am proud to live in this community. I am a student leader in marching and symphonic band, a track and field runner, a Girl Scout completing my Gold Award, a Civitan Leaders in Freedom Conference attendee, and I will attend Girls State in June. I think it’s important for teens to engage with and serve the community. For example, my Gold Project, “Music Connection,” links student musicians with senior citizens through concerts at local retirement homes. I would like to serve on the board to provide a youth perspective and opinion on the policies the board sets, keeping McLean and Langley kids’ best interests in mind. I have used the community center for classes, acted in plays at the Alden Theatre and attended events at MCC. Vote for me and I will help to make it a better place for McLean kids and teens!
Email: carolinebrunner7@gmail.com
 Nolan Fitzsimmons

Nolan Fitzsimmons
Hello, my name is Nolan Fitzsimmons, and I would like to be the McLean High School student representative to the 2017-2018 McLean Community Board. I have been attending classes of the McLean Community Center since I was three years old, and have grown to love all of the great programs that it offers our community. My desire for this position comes from my wanting to help our community as much as possible, including being in the position to help launch new programs at MCC, such as more that address the interests and needs of high school students.

I have been trying to get involved and contribute back to my community in multiple ways. For instance, over the summer I volunteered for Chesterbrook Assisted Living Home for 20 hours per week. Also, this is my third year volunteering for local elementary school chess clubs run by the U.S. Chess Center. I volunteered for the chess club of Kent Gardens Elementary School in my first year, and have ever since been volunteering for the chess club of Colvin Run Elementary School.

In recognition of my volunteering for the U.S. Chess Center, I earned the Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Medal for 100 hours of service, and ma currently pursuing The Congressional Award. The Congressional Award requires 400 hours of community service among numerous other large commitments, and I have so far completed almost 300 volunteer hours since registering for it two years ago.

In addition to my volunteering, I have been actively involved in my community through starting and running a chess club for McLean High School. The chess club recently completed its first tournament for the school, and has served to increase interest in the game along with giving players a good setting to practice it in.

Other activities that I have been involved in include my school’s cross country team, multiple weekly clubs, and the other parts of earning the Congressional Award, which relate to physical fitness and personal development. For the personal development section, I am in the process of spending 200 hours practicing for and writing essays for contests. I have won one award so far. I also have taken taekwondo lessons for many years and have obtained a black belt.

If elected, I will be committed to doing all I can to help improve MCC, including trying to start new projects and programs as I did at McLean High School in starting the chess club there. I hope I can contribute my skills and experience to MCC’s very admirable mission and can be a voice for my peers in encouraging MCC to offer new and beneficial programs for high school students. Thank you.
Email: nolannva@gmail.com

 Nikhil Jivan web

Nikhil Jivan

I look forward to this wonderful opportunity to serve on the Governing Board of the McLean Community Center. I would feel honored and privileged to be able to serve my community.

I was born in Virginia and have lived in McLean since 2004. Hence, I have the sense of giving back to the community and serving it as I have gained so much from it. I have always visited the Dolley Madison Library not only to borrow books, but also to attend events. I have displayed my Legos in the window display and my siblings and I have had several birthday parties in the park there.

I am currently in McLean High School and have attended Franklin Sherman Elementary, Haycock Elementary (for gifted and talented) and Longfellow Middle School. I have a 3.98 GPA in high school, and I’ve also won the grand prize in the science fair.

In the past few years, I have volunteered at the AFAC, which is the Arlington Food Assistance Center for the spring break. I have done piano performances at the Lewinsville Senior Center during the holidays.

I was a camp volunteer for the Rec-Pac last summer at Fairfax County Public Schools and was responsible for taking care of kindergarteners for three weeks.

At home, I help take care of my 9- and 7-year-old siblings and help with the house chores as well.

I read that the McLean Community Center Board sets policies, approves budgets and provides general oversight for Center programs and facilities. I am truly interested in learning how all that is done and developing my leadership skills for future experiences.

I assure you that I will prove a sincere, honest and reliable team member, if selected.
Email: nickjivan@gmail.com  

 Emily Simons web

Emily Simons

Hello! My name is Emily Simons, and I am running for the youth position on the McLean Community Center Board.

I’m a sophomore at McLean High School, and divide my time outside off school primarily between band and soccer. I know I share a similar experience with many of my fellow high school students, rushing about attending practices and rehearsals and finishing homework. That’s why I think it is important to be on the MCC Board.

Too often I believe us teens, myself included, get so caught up in the fullness of our schedules that we forget about the amazing resources our community has to offer. As a teen member on the board, I would love to be able to better connect our youth community with the MCC, and to speak on behalf of the wishes of the teens in our community. With your help, I would like to create more teen involvement in the MCC and to promote more events targeted towards teens.

The MCC means something different to all of us, but to most it represents friendly faces and good memories. Between the Fourth of July fireworks at Langley, the Old Firehouse, the Alden Theatre, McLean Day, and the countless art shows, lessons, meetings, lectures and camps offered, virtually everyone in the community has benefitted from the Community Center. That’s why I hope to bring my energy, enthusiasm, dedication and leadership to the MCC Board.

Our community is well-rounded and boasts a diverse variety of interests. I think the events sponsored by the MCC should continue to reflect the many interests expressed by the community. From the auditorium to the classroom to the soccer field, I know first-hand how important it is to have available a wide variety of opportunities for the people in our community to practice and discover their passions.

Ultimately, I want to see the McLean Community Center continue to thrive as a center of learning, collaboration and opportunity for the community during the Ingleside Renovation, and I would love to have the opportunity to work towards this goal as your voice on the board.
Email: emsimons4@gmail.com 

Write-in Candidates are allowed. Write-in candidates must receive at least 10 votes from 10 residents of the Center’s tax district in order to have their votes counted. For youth write-in candidates, the 10 votes must come from teens who live within the same high school boundary area as the candidate.

Absentee ballots will be available beginning Monday, April 10. A resident may request an absentee ballot package by phone (703-744-9348, TTY: 711) or email (elections@mcleancenter.org), or may pick one up at one of three MCC sites: Administrative Offices, at 6631 Old Dominion Dr.; Class Program/Registration Office, at 6645 Old Dominion Dr.; or The Old Firehouse Teen Center, 1440 Chain Bridge Rd. Completed absentee voting affidavits and ballots must be received at one of the three sites by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17.


For more information, call the Center at 703-744-9348, TTY: 711.
or email: elections@mcleancenter.org


Return to the 2017 Candidates page

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Temporary Adminstrative Offices (Effective 4/3/17) 6631 Old Dominion Dr., McLean, VA 22101 

Admimistrative Offices Phone: 703-790-0123 TTY: 711 Fax: 703-556-0547
Registration Office Phone: 703-744-9365 TTY: 711 Fax: 703-653-9435

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