Woodson to participate in concurrent learning pilot - Haunted Woods of Ilda to return next year - Seventeen families sue to reverse TJ admissions changes

Two-thirds of Wakefield votes were absentee - Police chief to retire in February - School Board’s McLaughlin hiring staff aide

Welcome to Wakefield Weekly, where we hope everyone has recovered from the sleep they lost waiting for election results. Keep the news, tips, featured photo submissions, and more coming to wakefieldweekly@gmail.com. And a big thanks to our sponsor, Realtor Jennifer Mack, whose column today discusses whether a change in presidential administrations will impact the real estate market in our area. Email Jennifer with real estate questions at jennifer@jennifermackproperties.com.

Two-thirds of Wakefield votes were absentee: Two-thirds of Wakefield voters cast their ballots early, according to unofficial tallies from the Chapel, Wakefield, and Canterbury precincts. The area had an 83% turnout rate among 9,245 registered voters.

The results from the individual precincts don’t tell us much, because they only include those who voted on Election Day. But across all of Fairfax County, 70% of voters backed Joe Biden for president and Mark Warner for Senate—helping propel the two Democrats to statewide victories. Here in the 11th Congressional District, Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Mantua resident, coasted to reelection. 

Fairfax County voters also gave overwhelming approval to four bond referendums totalling $441 million for capital improvement projects for libraries, parks, transportation, and health. The bonds will fund several items in the Wakefield area, including a $15 million renovation of the George Mason Regional Library and $20 million for phase one of the planned rebuild of the Audrey Moore RECenter.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank the hundreds of election workers who operated our locations for 35 days of early voting, facilitated voting at 26 precincts in the Braddock District, and who continue working to tally the final absentee ballots,” said Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw. “Amid the unprecedented early turnout and challenges posed by the pandemic, these dedicated community members conducted the process with precision, dedication, and integrity.”

Neighborhood News

Haunted Woods of Ilda to return next year: The Little Run Citizens’ Association’s first-ever “Haunted Woods of Ilda” was a smashing success—and will return in 2021, says LRCA President Brian Bishop. Held on the night before Halloween, the haunted trail down the Ilda Pool path served as an alternative this year as the county discouraged door-to-door trick-or-treating amid the pandemic. Charging $5 per child, the event raised $740 for the pool.

Here are three photos that were posted to the Ilda Facebook page, courtesy of Jim Albertson:

Schools

Woodson to participate in concurrent learning pilot: Woodson High School is set later this month to participate in a pilot program to test the concurrent learning model that could be rolled out system-wide between now and February. Under the model, students receive two days of in-person instruction each week and two days of virtual instruction. “Students who have opted for in-person learning and who have more than one of the teacher volunteers will be invited to join us in this adventure,” Woodson Principal Carlyn Floyd said in a message to the community. “Those families whose child meets the criteria will be contacted in the next day or so through the eNotify system.”

The School Board is scheduled to meet Thursday evening to continue hashing out the details for a phased return to in-person learning. Superintendent Scott Brabrand is expected to present an updated proposal, as well as update the board on the results so far from concurrent learning pilot programs at West Springfield High School and Kings Park Elementary School.

School Board’s McLaughlin hiring staff aide: Braddock District School Board Member Megan McLaughlin is looking for a full-time staff aide. Previously, Fairfax County School Board members each shared an assistant with a colleague—a difficult arrangement given the thousands of emails each School Board member has to respond to. Now, each member will get their own, dedicated full-time aide. Job duties include research and communicating with constituents, community organizations, elected officials, and FCPS leaders. The selection team will begin screening resumes tomorrow. Interested applicants can find more info here.

Public Safety

Police chief to retire in February: Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. has announced plans to retire in February after more than three decades with the Fairfax County Police Department. 

Roessler has overseen major reforms in his eight years as chief, including implementation of the body-worn camera program. But he has come under criticism in recent months amid a heightened focus on race issues, facing no-confidence votes from the police unions and calls by West Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity for county leaders to assess his performance. “Our officers are operating in a culture of fear and retaliation, afraid to do their jobs with conflicting guidance and a lack of support from leadership,” Herrity, the lone Republican on the Board of Supervisors, said in a statement last month.

A police spokesman told The Washington Post the criticisms were not a factor in Roessler’s decision to retire and that he’d been planning the move for over a year. Other county supervisors, including Chairman Jeffrey McKay, issued statements hailing Roessler for a distinguished career. “Chief Roessler has dedicated his life to protecting our community for over 30 years, as a new hire, patrol officer, interim chief, and eventually chief for the past 8 years,” McKay said. Added Supervisor Walkinshaw: “His efforts were key in helping make FCPD a national leader in transparency and accountability while maintaining our status as one of the safest large jurisdictions in the country.”

News in Brief

  • Incoming First Lady Jill Biden plans to continue working as a full-time English professor at Northern Virginia Community College during her husband’s presidency, WTOP reports. But for those wondering, she does not teach at NOVA’s Annandale campus here in Wakefield—she teaches in Alexandria.

  • Seventeen families are suing to reverse changes to the admissions process at the Thomas Jefferson School for Science and Technology, requesting an immediate injunction to reinstate the admissions test, The Washington Post reports.

  • An anti-Semitic sign was posted at the Pozez Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, the Annandale Blog reports. The JCC issued the following statement in response: “Although this incident reminds us there is a small group of people who are invigorated by today’s political climate, overwhelmingly, the shared support of the J’s mission to build community and enrich lives is shared by our neighbors and throughout the broader community.” 

Events

  • Saturday, Nov. 14: Boy Scout Troop 50 and Cub Scout Pack 50 are hosting a non-perishable food drive for Annandale Christian Community in Action from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Holy Spirit Upper Parking Lot at 5121 Woodland Way. Items needed include toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, dish soap, and toiletries.

  • Tuesday, Nov. 17: The Braddock District Land Use and Environment Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7 p.m. A draft agenda and details for how to connect will be posted on the Braddock District website three days in advance.

  • Wednesday, Nov. 18: Supervisor Walkinshaw will take questions and listen to concerns from community members at a 7 p.m. Braddock District Council meeting. Zoom link here; meeting ID: 870 5961 0790; passcode: 470276; dial-In: (301)715-8592 

Real Estate

Sponsored Content

Jennifer Mack column: Will a change in presidential administrations impact real estate?

With former Vice President Joe Biden set to become president, many people are curious how a Biden presidency will affect the housing market in our area.

So far, the fall market has been strong, though we’ve seen a decline in showings over the past 10 days as the distractions of Halloween and the presidential race kept would-be home buyers glued to their televisions and postponing major decisions until after the election.

I predict we will continue to see some of this hesitancy over the next several weeks, dependent on a couple factors. Should the election continue to be contested, that could extend the feeling of uneasiness for some home buyers and they may decide to postpone making decisions until there is finality. I also predict buyers and sellers will be watching the stock market and consumer confidence indices to gauge their comfort level with the economic outlook over the coming months and years.  

I often get asked whether a change in presidential administrations has an impact on real estate at the local level. I honestly don't see it having a huge impact in the suburbs of Northern Virginia. With a potential Biden administration, there almost certainly will not be a major reduction in the federal workforce, but I don’t foresee a major influx, either. I see the Covid-19 pandemic as having a much larger continuing impact in line with what we have already been experiencing the last several months with people fleeing cities in favor of more space inside and outside.

I have confidence in our local market continuing to be robust for the majority of townhomes and single family homes in the Wakefield area, despite the huge amount of uncertainty we are all facing in so many areas.

Jennifer Mack has more than 15 years of experience in the real estate industry. Her team services Virginia, Maryland, and D.C., with the bulk of her business in the Woodson High School area. You can contact her with real estate questions at jennifer@jennifermackproperties.com or by calling 703-672-0038. She’s happy to answer specific questions privately or more general questions publicly in this column.

On the market

8903 Footstep Ct | $849,900
4 beds, 3 baths, 2,144 sf
Listed by Paul B. Greenfield | Redfin Corporation 

8285 Private Ln | $1,499,900
4 beds, 4.5 baths, 5,788 sf
Listed by Debbie Dogrul Associates & Jamie Petrik | Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.

4104 Accotink Pkwy | $849,900
3 beds, 4.5 baths, 3,216 sf
Listed by Leela Singh | Keller Williams Fairfax Gateway 

4025 Guinea Rd | $600,000
4 beds, 3 baths, 1,460 sf
Listed by Nathan Johnson & Philip Johnson | Keller Williams Capital Properties

4600 Duncan Dr | $669,000
4 beds, 2.5 baths, 1,661 sf
Listed by Avi Ron | SSG Real Estate LLC. 

4309 Holly Ln | $499,000
0.9 acres
Listed by Jonathan Kennedy | McEnearney Associates, Inc. 

Recently sold

8904 Moreland Ln | $675,000
4 beds, 3 baths, 2,609 sf
Listed by Casey Stauffer | RE/MAX Gateway, LLC