2023 Governing Board Candidates

Fifteen District Residents Have Qualified to Run for Seats on McLean Community Center’s Governing Board
Three Adult, Two Teen Positions Available

McLean Community Center (MCC) has certified 15 Dranesville Small District 1A residents, five adults and 10 teens, to run for seats on the McLean Community Center Governing Board. The all-volunteer Board sets goals and aligns strategies for MCC programs and facilities, which include the Robert Ames Alden Theatre and the Old Firehouse Center.

MCC is located at 1234 Ingleside Ave.

Absentee Balloting
Absentee Balloting begins on Wednesday, March 15. Residents may vote in-person or by mail. To request a ballot for your household, you may fill out the online ballot request form, phone 703-744-9348 or send an email to elections@mcleancenter.org. Absentee balloting ends on Wednesday, May 17, at 5 p.m. All absentee ballots must be received at MCC by 5 p.m. to be counted.

Please Note: Wednesday, May 10 is the last day absentee ballots will be mailed out to district residents to ensure they are delivered and can be returned to MCC by the deadline of 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17. Remaining options: District residents can still come into the center during operating hours to vote by absentee ballot up until the 5 p.m. May 17 deadline; or residents can vote in person at the McLean Day festival at Lewinsville Park on Saturday, May 20, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Three adult positions and two youth positions are open this year. The adult candidates who receive the three-highest vote counts will serve three-year (3) terms. Youth candidates, one from the McLean High School boundary area and one from the Langley High School boundary area, will serve one-year (1) terms. Youth candidates do not have to attend these schools to serve on the board.

Adult Candidates' Personal Statements 
Gloria Marrero Chambers

I was born and raised in Puerto Rico and attended college in Baltimore, where I met my husband of 37 years. I became a teacher. In 1997, we moved to Vienna. From the beginning, I have been deeply committed to volunteering for the community. Our kids attended The Langley School, and we moved to McLean in 2013.

My commitment to public service and volunteer work in the past 26 years is extensive: I was a team parent for sports teams and taught Catechism at our parish school. I served as Vice President of the Langley School Board. I have chaired numerous gala and fundraising events for schools and organizations throughout the DMV.

The MCC is a wonderful community resource. As a member of the MCC Board, I will ensure that programs and events engage every member of our community. I will be a responsible steward of your tax dollars, and I will commit my decades of leadership and board experience to give back to our community.

Email address: gloriamcmclean@gmail.com

Matt Colsia

Hello fellow McLean residents. I am seeking to represent the McLean Community Center by serving as a volunteer on the Governing Board. My family and I have enjoyed living in McLean for the last three years and I would like an opportunity to give back to the community through servant leadership and volunteer service.

I recently retired after serving for 26 years in the US Army where I held numerous leadership positions, the most recent as the specialty aeromedical staff officer for the National Guard HQ in Arlington, responsible for oversight of the National Critical Care Flight Paramedic Program as well as the Aeromedical Evacuation Program. I also maintained my own proficiency as a UH-60 Blackhawk Pilot-in-Command. I deployed to combat five times and have spent a significant amount of time with my family overseas in South Korea and Germany. My awards include the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, the Expert Field Medical Badge and the Senior Aviator Badge.

I have a Master of Science in Health and Wellness Coaching with a concentration in Sport Psychology and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

I enjoy visiting the numerous parks and historical landmarks in our local area with my wife and our four children. We also enjoy camping, sports, geocaching, and puzzle-based adventures like escape rooms. I also enjoy refining my BBQ pitmaster skill and techniques, and I love to share!
I am a member of the army Association of the United States, the Military Officers Association of America, the DUSTOFF Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, The Army Aviation Association of America., Team RWB, Team Rubicon and the Travis Manion Foundation. I also volunteer at McLean H.S., Longfellow Middle School and Franklin Sherman Elementary.

LinkedIn profile: linkedin.com/in/mattcolsia
Email address: matt.colsia@gmail.com

Katie Gorka

I moved to McLean with my family in 2008, and I found it to be a wonderful place to raise our children. Now that they are older and out of the house, I wanted to find a way to give back to the community. I always enjoyed the events at the McLean Community Center and feel it is a great asset to the community.

I have had a long career in public policy, working at various think tanks and in government. After the Berlin Wall fell, I put together a festival of films from Central and Eastern Europe, which was held in New York City. I am an avid gardener and reader. I love the parks we have in McLean and am out walking my dogs every day.

As a member of the board, I would help ensure that programming represents all members of the McLean Community and that it responsibly stewards the funds and other resources that are entrusted to it by the members of our community.

Email address: katiegorkamcLean@protonmail.com


Kathleen Cooney Porter

I moved to McLean in 1998 with my husband. Together, we raised twin girls who attended Chesterbrook Elementary School and Longfellow Middle School.

Our girls went to many programs at MCC, especially The Alden Theatre. The Old Firehouse was my go-to summer camp. I cannot say enough great things about OFC.

I have practiced intellectual property for over 30 years where I worked on many matters involving animation, theatre, publications and more. I have a background in the stewardship of funds as a managing partner. I believe my experience will advance the programs of MCC and increase representation of our diverse community.

I enjoy cooking, reading, tennis, walking and spending time with family and friends and our beloved French bulldog.

Email address: kcptrademarks@gmail.com

Lincom aka Amirthalingam Thillaichidambaram

I am affectionately called Lincom, Lincoln or Lingam by my friends and neighbors in the McLean Hunt. Attending cultural meetings hosted by the Washington Tamil Association, annual get-togethers organized by the Homeowners’ Association and my grandchildren's events at their high school and university has heightened my appreciation for arts, education and our community.

For over three decades, I worked in Logistics and Supply Chain management for the TNEB Chennai, India. While working at the utility, I went to law school at night. In 1989, after retirement, I was admitted to practice law before the Madras High Court, eventually becoming a rotating judge in a three-member panel for Lok Adalat, a people’s court setup to adjudicate small claims.

All my life, I’ve actively engaged in my community and served its people. Upon retirement, I became the legal adviser to the Pensioners’ Association. I am a member of the Senior Citizens Association of Chennai, and for a time served as its Joint Secretary and Vice-president.

Happily married for over 62 years, I enjoy spending time with my grandchildren. In my free time, I participate in the events hosted by World Thirukkural Center, whose purpose is to to develop character by instilling good habits and values in people from all walks of life.

I commit to bring my love of education, community building, leadership, and, above all, the wisdom I’ve accumulated over a lifetime of experiences to the McLean Community Center Governing Board.

I humbly ask for your VOTE.

E-mail address: lincoln133MCC@gmail.com

Youth Candidates' Personal Statements — Langley High School boundary area
Sophia Bruno

I am Sophia Bruno, a junior at Langley, and I am running for the MCC Board.  I am an active member of the Langley community both in and out of school. I am constantly looking for ways to give back, including organizing a meal-making event to feed the homeless, volunteering as an assistant at St. Luke’s Sunday School, and teaching kids at Mathnasium.  I have learned that being a leader is being humble, responsible, and approachable.  With my experience, creativity, and passion, I intend to represent my fellow McLean youths and ensure that all voices are heard.

Email address: sophiabruno2048@gmail.com

Cabot Fisher

I am Cabot Fisher, and I am running for the McLean Community Center Board. Teens need representation on the board, and I am confident that I can be a strong voice for the community. I am involved with different groups such as my school’s debate team, handbell choir, and the Jewish student alliance, which will make me a valuable voice on the board. I will advocate for a tutoring space for students so they can get help with academics. My education and background give me the necessary tools to represent teens and all members of the community on the board.

Email address: cabot4MCC@gmail.com

Charlotte Loving

The Community Center has been an important part of my life growing up in McLean and I would like to make sure others have the same positive experience.  Through extra-curricular activities I have friends at McLean and Langley. I am co-president of the Langley Nice Cream Club, a member of the Principal’s Advisory Council and Co-Captain of the Langley Softball team, all of which have taught me to communicate, lead, plan and achieve goals. If re-elected, I will work to make sure the Community Center and Old Firehouse continue to be valuable and enjoyable resources for high school students.

Email address: charlotterloving@gmail.com

Duy (Mikey) Nguyen

I’m Duy (Mikey) Nguyen and I’m running to be an MCC Governing Board member to become more involved in my community and learn more about the people in my community. I have been involved in the community through helping coach swimmers and flag football, as well as teaching my peers at school how to play chess, my favorite game. Another one of my interests is learning about history. In AP World and AP U.S. my understanding of the world has been modified heavily by learning about past trends and events and I’m grateful to my teachers for that.

Email address: mikey983e@gmail.com

Ethan Pwu

Since moving to McLean in 2017, the community has been nothing but welcoming. I am grateful for the opportunity to run for the Governing Board of the MCC. I have the privilege of being involved with LHS’s marching band and crew team, which have taught me discipline, teamwork, and diligence. Volunteering at MCC events has been an important part of my life, as giving back to my community is a core value of mine. I believe that my positive connections with members of the community will allow me to create a worthwhile impact and help all members of our community.

Email address: ethanpwu123@gmail.com

Sonya Thott

Hello MCC Governing Board!  My name is Sonya Thott, a sophomore at Langley High School. I am petitioning for the MCC Governing Board Youth leader role.  As a contributor to the MCC mission to make our community a better place for all, I have great ideas on how to improve our community collaboratively.  I love listening to others’ perspectives and ideas with attentiveness, empathy, tenacity, and diligence.  I care for the community and feel that every voice should be heard in decisions made by the MCC to promote inclusion and diversity. I hope that you accept me as a candidate!

Email address: sonya4mclean@gmail.com

Youth Candidates' Personal Statements — McLean High School boundary area
Eleanor Ague

My name is Eleanor Ague, and I am running for the McLean Community Center Governing Board to benefit the community of McLean. I am currently a junior at McLean High School and am committed to becoming an integrated member of our society through the missions of the McLean Community Center. I am very interested in public policy and recently completed the United States Senate Page Program, which gave me the opportunity to witness democracy in action. This experience gave me great sense of enthusiasm for service, which I am excited to apply to the McLean community.

Email address: eleanor.ague@gmail.com

Rafik Hanna

For the past two years, I have been in the Unruly Theatre Project, an award-winning professional improv troupe. A truly challenging experience, I believe the UTP has allowed me to develop diverse leadership, communication, and confidence skills that are suitable for this position. McLean as a community has been nothing short of wonderful to me, and I believe the MCC Governing Board is an excellent opportunity to give back to this wonderful community. I care deeply about McLean, and I am honored to be a candidate for the MCC Governing Board.

Email address: rafhanna06@gmail.com

Katy Perez

Hi! I am Katy Perez and I am running to be a McLean Community Center board member because I love my town and want to be a voice for our youth!  My family has been part of the McLean community for over 50 years and I am excited to play an important role in its future. In my role as a board member, I plan to create opportunities to keep our city clean, happy, and connected with our neighbors.  I will this through outreach and being open to advice and opinions on what we should do in our community!

Email address: k.pereznesmith@gmail.com

Philip Rotondo

I am Philip Rotondo, a junior at McLean High School, and I’m running for MCC Governing Board. I know how important MCC is to making McLean so vibrant – MCC gave me my first exposure to live music and theater and helped me connect with friends and neighbors. Staying active in the community is very important to me. I stay involved through my work on McLean’s Highlander Magazine and the MCC’s Youth Ambassador Program. I would love the opportunity to serve on our community’s Governing Board to help maintain and expand MCC’s programming to appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds.

Email address: philiprotondo@gmail.com

Write-in Candidates are allowed. Write-in candidates must receive at least 10 votes from 10 residents of the Center’s tax district in order to have their votes counted. For youth write-in candidates, the 10 votes must come from teens who live within the same high school boundary area as the candidate.

Absentee Balloting:
Absentee Balloting begins on Wednesday, March 15. Residents may vote in-person or by mail. To request a ballot for your household, you may fill out the online ballot request form**, phone 703-744-9348 or send an email to elections@mcleancenter.org.

**Please indicate how many adult or youth ballots are needed for your household. The requested ballots will be mailed to your home. The package will include a pre-addressed return envelope for each ballot. A signed affidavit must accompany each completed ballot. Please mail or drop off your ballot to McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Avenue, McLean, Va. 22101.

Please Note: Wednesday, May 10 is the last day absentee ballots will be mailed out to district residents to ensure they are delivered and can be returned to MCC by the deadline of 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17. Remaining options: District residents can still come into the center during operating hours to vote by absentee ballot up until the 5 p.m. May 17 deadline; or residents can vote in person at the McLean Day festival at Lewinsville Park on Saturday, May 20, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In-Person Voting:
Vote in-person between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. at McLean Day 2023, on Saturday, May 20, at Lewinsville Park, 1659 Chain Bridge Rd.

For more information, call the Center at 703-744-9348, TTY: 711, or email elections@mcleancenter.org.