As a businesswoman who graduated from a trade school, Lori Bauckman-Moore feels she is uniquely qualified for the open Occoquan District seat on the Prince William County School Board precisely because she brings a different perspective to the table.
"I've been a businesswoman most of my life," Bauckman-Moore said. She couldn't afford to go to college, she said, so she began working for Dr. Raymond Niles, a Woodbridge dentist, at the age of 17. He paid for her to go to a trade school to become an orthodontist.
“The one thing I’m getting called on is that I don’t have a college degree," she said. "Well, it takes all kinds. I have a different kind of degree. Everyone wants high tech jobs, and that’s fine and dandy, but that’s not for everyone. I think we need to focus on giving children options with trades.”
Bauckman-Moore owns two small businesses: Mechanix Auto Repair, which she has run with her husband for the past 24 years, and Mary Kay Cosmetics, which she has run for 31 years. She also served on the Prince William County Park Authority board for more than four years.
When she served on the Park Authority board, there was a budget congress that made recommendations to the board.
"The budget process is a big thing for me. I really would like to see budget committees put together," she said. “The school board is using our tax dollars. I am not opposed to getting some expert advice before some decisions are made. There are a lot more closed sessions than there ever has been. I think they need to be more transparent. I would like to see more money coming back to the classrooms.”
Bauckman-Moore feels that she has a direct connection to parents in PWCS, because she is one of them.
"I would be the only board member that still has kids in the classrooms," she said.
Bauckman-Moore has been involved in PWCS for many years. She's been in Woodbridge since 1974 and went to Fred M. Lynn Middle School and Woodbridge Senior High School. She also worked for the school system as a hostess.
She praised PWCS commitment to nutritional school lunches, and the caliber of the teachers and principals at each school.
"I think Prince William County teachers and principals are top-notch," she said. "I worship the ground these people walk on. I’ve got children that are excelling in Prince William County schools. I came out of the school system, and I'm doing quite well."
Bauckman-Moore said PWCS could still make further strides on closing the achievement gap. The principal at Woodbridge Middle School, Bauckman-Moore's daughter attends, has quarterly parent-teacher conferences where the child demonstrates the progress he or she has made, and the parent observes where the child may need a little help.
Bauckman-Moore said this system could benefit the entire county. She also wondered why more kids didn't stay after school to get free help in areas where they struggled.
"I would like to see more children who feel like they need help stay after to get that help,” she said. "It is their choice and their chance to get that help but they’re not doing it. These teachers are giving up their free time, but people are not taking the time to take advantage of it.”
Ultimately, Bauckman-Moore hopes voters will choose her because they believe she cares about the schools.
"I am making a statement by not running on any political party," she said. "I am for the children, I am for the parents, I am for everybody, but I'm not for a party. I hope people vote for me because they know me. I want people to say, 'Lori is running as Lori, and we trust Lori.'"