College alumnus Foster swears into state Board of Education

Former Arlington County School Board chair hopes to speak for parents, taxpayers


University alumnus David Foster revisited Grounds yesterday morning when he was sworn into the Virginia Board of Education.

Gov. Bob McDonnell appointed Foster, along with former Secretary of the Commonwealth Betsy Beamer, to the positions Feb. 3.

"Betsy and Dave know firsthand the importance of ensuring every Virginia student gets a world class education," McDonnell said in a press release. "They understand it both as parents and as long-time leaders in the public life of our Commonwealth."

Foster plans to use his experiences as the former chairman of the Arlington County School Board and being a parent to his son - a fourth-year College student - during his term.

"I think the most important thing is to bring the perspective of the parents and taxpayers to the immense challenges facing us," he said. "Obviously funding is tough and you've got statewide standards of learning issues to meet."

He acknowledged, however, that he will not be able to please everyone.

"Contrary to what some of the ideologues on the left and the right will tell you, the answers are not often self-evident," he said. "There is imperfect information and room for disagreement. Reasonable people can disagree, and it has nothing to do with partisanship in this role."

Education School Dean Robert Pianta and his wife Ann McAndrew hosted the ceremony at their pavilion home. Foster was sworn into office by the Honorable Ronald L. Napier, judge of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in Clarke County and Law School alumnus.

Foster said he chose the University as the site for his induction because his family feels very connected to the University community, as he and his wife Martha have accrued five degrees in total from the University.

Moreover, the Lawn was the ideal setting because of the prominent role the University plays in Virginia public education, he said.

"This is not a Northern Virginia role," Foster said. "This is a statewide responsibility. We were looking for a place that symbolizes that."

He noted that the University was originally called Central College because Thomas Jefferson meant for it to be the capstone of public education throughout the Commonwealth.

Campaign member John Bartlett said he believes that McDonnell made a wise decision by appointing Foster.

"David has a lot of experience and knows the current issues," Bartlett said. "He was the right choice for Virginia's public education"

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