A Virginia teacher of a middle school in the county of Prince William County has been appointed the new education secretary of Virginia by Governor-elect Ralph Northam.

Qarni’s selection was odd: a regular teacher has not gone from classroom teaching to a  Cabinet position for a minimum of a decade, stated the Virginia Education Association.

Goals

Qarni says he hopes to bring vital new perspectives to his position, where he is set to be responsible for assistance and support regarding education policy.

“I bring a lot of field expertise, which was really needed,” said the teacher, 39. “This is a dream come true as an educator because I can work on a larger scale now.”

He set his priorities to address teacher’s pay, getting Internet access over to each school district and reducing class sizes, especially around Northern Virginia, a region with a problem with overcrowding.

Response

Jim Livingston, the president of Virginia’s Education Association, praised Northam’s selection and says this portrays the governor-elect’s eagerness to hear out teachers.

“When it comes to change in the way our public schools operate, too often our teachers and support professionals have been dictated to instead of given the opportunity to generate solutions to the challenges we face,” he mentioned in his statement.

Tim Keenan, the principle of Beville’s, said that Qarni shows that students are his priority. He is also involved in activities in and out of the classroom.

“He is beloved,” said Keenan. “We’re very proud of him.”

Qarni originally and unsuccessfully ran to obtain a position in the House of Delegates back in 2013, as well as for state Senate two years following that. He often talked of the struggles Muslims who wish to seek public office face, and in an op-ed published in The Washington Post, he wrote about Democratic leaders said he should drop out from the Senate race as a “Muslim would never win.”

Qarni was Dale City Teacher of the Year last year 2016, served in the US Marines as a sergeant, and was sent to Iraq back in 2003 on deployment Operation Iraqi Freedom, stated the release.