Karen Keys Gamarra is a mother of three FCPS recent graduates, a former Planning Commissioner, an attorney who practices family law and focuses on representing children and, a child advocate who has had extensive involvement in our community. Keys-Gamarra is a Tulane University and Washington University School of Law graduate. She has practiced law in multiple states in such areas as bankruptcy, employment discrimination, labor law, criminal and family law. She began her law career in private practice and gravitated toward nonprofit organizations that focused on employment and labor law.
After her three sons were born, Keys-Gamarra became a Guardian ad litem where she represents the best interests of children in cases of abuse, neglect, detention, adoption and other such areas of family law. She understands that family is important to the well-being of the child and that education is often the key to provide a bridge to success for that child.
Since her election in 2017, Karen has worked to remove barriers to education and promote access to a world class education. In her two years on the Board she has successfully worked to:
Increase access to Advanced Academics and Language Immersion programs
Improve special education services through professional development for staff and greater communication with parents
Provide support to staff to address student behavioral concerns
Revise discipline practices to improve academic performance, reduce discipline referrals and reduce school interruptions
Remove confederate names from our schools
Expand anti-bullying efforts so that our kids feel safe
Pass balanced budgets with competitive salaries and reduced class sizes
Secure full funding for Title I programs
Sustain environmental stewardship
Launch a pilot program to achieve menstrual equity
On the Board, Karen serves as the Audit Chair, the Title I Liaison and serves on the Governance and Criminal Justice Committees. Keys-Gamarra will continue to work toward greater access to immersion programs, mental health supports, transparency, and competitive salaries for staff and teachers. Keys-Gamarra has also worked with organizations to reduce domestic violence against women and children, served on Boards to address concerns impacting children and was a former CASA volunteer (Court Appointed Special Advocate) who advocates for the well-being of children who are court involved.
Karen Keys-Gamarra resides in Oakton, Virginia with her husband. Her sons have all attended or graduated from college, one of whom is a 2019 U.S. Military Academy at West Point graduate. Her youngest son currently attends the College of William and Mary.