We believe that building a strong community begins with the foundation of a good education. Education is fundamental in the ability of a democracy to survive – ultimately creating opportunity and a meaningful life.
Education has been a passion of Scott’s for all of his adult life. Working in the high-tech industry, he developed and helped train many young engineers and scientists. After retirement from FCi Federal, Scott knew immediately that one area he would devote his energy and resources to was addressing the critical shortage of scientists, engineers, and technologists that our country is facing. Scott found his way onto the Loudoun Education Foundation knowing the best way to have a long-term impact is to start when children are young and in the early stages of their education. Scott is now the Chairman of the Board & President of the Foundation, a 501(c)3 devoted to raising money for the students and teachers at the Loudoun County School System. LCPS has over 80,000 students and is adding new schools every year as the growth continues in the county.
There are many aspects to creating excitement and passion for the sciences and technology in children. Ultimately our goal is to have children of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and sexes see the incredible potential of a STEM career. While looking at all sides of the challenge, afew things became clear. Some challenges are basic: reading, writing, and math. Some are economic: availability of smart devices and internet connectivity for all students. And some are limitations in local budgets: library materials, training support, materials for teachers, and educational after-school programs for those in need.
Loudoun County is large and diverse. The 59 elementary schools, for example, are in communities that range from wealthy to Title 1 schools – so we looked at helping through several avenues. For example, through Sharon’s work in economic development, we helped LCPS receive $3,200,000 to develop a computer science program for all grade levels and all schools. The initial grant will help LCPS create the curriculum, develop teacher training, provide teacher mentorship, and roll out the computer science curriculum for 6th through 12th grades. On the heels of this new program are the resources needed to roll out the program for grades K-5.
Sharon and Scott believe strongly that we cannot focus on one side of the brain alone if we want our children to be fully rounded individuals. It is commonplace today that the budgets and resources available for art and music programs are severely curtailed, a victim of the budget wars. Yet art, music, and theater enliven a child’s creative spark, a skill needed to be a great scientist or engineer. We started a pilot program in 2019 in our local elementary school to provide students modern, hi-tech music and art facilities and expand the art, music, and theater classes. It has been a huge success. We are embarking on a plan to expand these programs across the school system, having donated over $300,000 to date.