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Meet Mary Hynes

A Long-Time Arlingtonian

Mary moved to Arlington 30 years ago, after graduating from the College of St. Benedict in Minnesota. In 1978, Mary married Patrick Hynes, a recent widower, who had two daughters who were 2 and 4 years old, Stephanie and Rachel. During the next 5 years, Patrick and Mary had three more children, Brendan, Shannon and Elizabeth.

A Mother and School Activist

With five children, Mary's family needed the public schools to work. Mary set about learning how to make public school work better for her children with their varied educational needs and, along the way, became an advocate for all kinds of children with all kinds of educational needs.

Hynes family photo

Mary, Liz, Rachel, Patrick, Brendan, Stephanie, and Shannon (front)

Mary made important contributions to each of her children's schools, and there were many -- Key, Drew and Taylor elementary schools, Swanson middle school, Washington-Lee high school and the H-B Woodlawn secondary program. It was obvious to all who knew her that Mary was a leader. In 1991, Mary was selected to chair the Arlington Schools Futures Committee, a year long community process involving 150 citizens and public school staff that examined how best to meet students' educational needs in the context of rapidly rising student enrollment and increasing student diversity. The Committee's report - Futures Planning - became the framework for school system change in Arlington for the next 15 years.

Making History

In 1993, the Virginia Legislature voted to allow localities to elect their school boards. For nearly 50 years, members of school boards in Virginia were appointed - a response to Arlington's decision to desegregate schools following the Supreme Courts' Brown v. Board Education decision in 1954. Mary's leadership of the Futures Committee prepared her well to become the consensus candidate