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School Board Chair Cristina Diaz-Torres and 21 Arlington Public Schools Faculty & Staff Endorse Tenley Peterson for Arlington County Board


May 9, 2024

Contact: Austin Locke,

ARLINGTON, VA—Today, Tenley Peterson announced the endorsements of Cristina Diaz-Torres, Chair of Arlington School Board, and 21 Arlington Public School (APS) Faculty and Staff. Tenley Peterson is seeking the Democratic nomination for an open seat on the Arlington County Board in 2024.

“Tenley's unwavering dedication to our community and her passion for advocating for our schools make her the ideal candidate for County Board,” stated Diaz-Torres. Peterson and Diaz-Torres worked together on Arlington’s Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission (FAAC), a commission Peterson chaired for four years. As Chair of FAAC, Peterson oversaw the review of Arlington’s $1.5 billion annual budget, of which APS funding is a substantial portion. 

Diaz-Torres continued, “Since my time working with her on the county budget commission, Tenley has consistently demonstrated her commitment to ensuring that our schools receive the support and resources they need to thrive. Her extensive experience and pragmatic approach to policy making make her uniquely qualified to address the complex challenges facing our school system. I wholeheartedly support her candidacy and urge the residents of Arlington to join me in voting for Tenley Peterson.”

Twenty-one (21) current and former Arlington Public Schools (APS) teachers and staff also announced their support for Peterson’s candidacy. In a joint statement, they added: “Tenley is a wonderful teacher and will make an excellent member of the County Board. At school, she is patient, engaging, and knowledgeable with students, a great colleague to teachers and administration, and supportive to all staff. She has the right blend of experience and compassion when making decisions and is knowledgeable about Arlington Public Schools, which will be an asset to her on the Arlington County Board.”

21 Current and Former APS Teachers and Staff 

Reina Benitez, Lower Elementary Assistant 

Beth Brewer, Music Teacher

Nadia Cruceta, Lower Elementary Assistant 

Dryw Freed, Reading Specialist (former)

Laverne Gant, Upper Elementary Assistant 

Jenn Gonzaga, Substitute Teacher 

Marguarite Gooden, New Directions Principal (retired)

Heather Keppler, Substitute Teacher 

Kip Malinosky, IB Middle Years Programme Coordinator

Sean McGee, PE Teacher 

Eve Mendolia, Primary Elementary Teacher 

Kevin Miles, SPED/Health & PE teacher

Kay Miller, Librarian

Richard Russey, Art Teacher 

Carlos Soles, SPED Teacher

Kia Stevenson-Haynes, Educational Administrative Coordinator & AMAC Exec. Board Member 

Karina Valdez, Educational Administrative Coordinator 

Symone Walker, APS Education Activist 

Leslie Whiteside Elgendi, Extended Day Supervisor

Sarah Yunus, Extended Day Staff 

Silvia Yzquieta, Primary Elementary Assistant

Peterson is a part-time substitute teacher for APS, a position she took up in response to APS’s teacher shortage and the COVID-19 pandemic. In earning these endorsements, Peterson stated, “I am deeply touched to receive backing from the teachers, staff, and administrators I've collaborated with as a substitute teacher. Their tireless efforts to educate and nurture Arlington children, including my own, deserve immense respect, and I hold their contributions to the County in the highest esteem.” 

If elected, Peterson would focus on building a better partnership between the County Board and School Board so that APS planning and budgeting needs can be met more proactively. Teacher recruitment and retention is also one of her priorities. “Supporting good quality public education like we have in Arlington is essential for our next generation to grow up happy and healthy,” said Peterson, “but prioritizing our schools, teachers, and staff is also critical to our success as a county. Our kids are our future. Our long-term planning as a county starts here.”

Peterson is also a member of the Arlington Education Association and has worked for a variety of nonprofits focused on youth outreach and education advocacy throughout her career. She is a progressive Democrat who believes that a public servant’s number one responsibility is putting people first when making policy decisions. If elected, Peterson will bring experience, pragmatism, and kindness to the County Board to find solutions that work for all of Arlington. 

For Tenley Peterson’s complete list of endorsements, visit


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