A- A A+

Twelve 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 12 Dranesville Small District-1A residents, nine adults and three teens, to run for seats on the McLean Community Center Governing Board. The all-volunteer Board sets the 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 16. Residents may vote in-person or by mail. To request a ballot for your household, you may fill out an online form** , phone 703-744-9348 or send an email to elections@mcleancenter.org. Absentee balloting ends on Wednesday, May 18, at 5 p.m. All absentee ballots must be received at MCC by 5 p.m. to be counted.

**Thursday, May 12, is the last day mail-in 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 18. Remaining Options: District residents can still come into the center during all open business hours to vote by absentee ballot up until the 5 p.m. May 18 deadline; or they may vote in person at the McLean Day festival in Lewinsville Park on Saturday, May 21, 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



Anna Bartosiewicz
My name is Anna Bartosiewicz and I am excited to bring an international perspective to the MCC board. My family is multilingual and multicultural, and I work hard every day to instill a sense of curiosity and acceptance in my two daughters. As a board member, I would work to create an inclusive space where everyone in our community is welcome to contribute and participate, enriching us all. In my work as a consultant, my most successful projects fostered consensus through facilitation, an approach I look forward to using as we make every voice heard during the decision-making process.

Email: AnnaForMCC@gmail.com

Facebook: Anna Bartosiewicz


Lisa Mariam
Debra Butler

My name is Debra Butler and I moved to McLean 17+ years ago.

It’s been a marvelous place to raise a family, and my children (Liam-24 and Brenna-22) have had a wonderful life here. From Dolly Madison Preschool to Churchill Road Elementary to Cooper Middle and Langley High, they have experienced the best that McLean has to offer. Part of that, of course, is the McLean Community Center. We have spent many cold nights with the Boy Scouts, setting up for McLean Artfests, and with the Girl Scouts at the community fairs. From tiny tots ballet to the Chocolate Festival, from Mommy & Me to art classes to hearing the Rider’s in the Sky band perform “Woody’s Roundup” on the Alden stage, our days at MCC have enriched our lives tremendously.

It’s time for me to give back now that they are grown! I am especially interested in bringing in additional art events that might incorporate our younger community participants to the theatre. Events like open-mic music and comedy. I can imagine more musical and theater events that our kids play and participate in. I’m also very interested in new cultural innovations that incorporate even more of the rich tapestry of our diverse community: food, music, culture from around the world. And, of course, the restoration of our greenspace and helping to advance an enriched McLean Central Park. (This is a specific interest I have garnered through the work I’ve done helping to pull down the invasive vines destroying our Central Park trees!) I have lots of ideas and tons of energy, and I would love your support.

A little about me: I have an MBA in Marketing and professional certification in Design Thinking from MIT. I worked 20 years in NYC as Vice-President of a Global Beauty Company and am currently Chief Marketing Officer at NeverNeedsWinding – a marketing agency in the CPG sector. I am also President of Northern Virginia Citizens Association and a member of the McLean Citizens Association on both the Transportation Committee and the Environmental, Parks and Recreation Committee. I love travel, skiing, photography, nature, family, fun and animals. (Two rough collies, one yorkie, and one bunny!) Have questions? Please email me at Debra4MCC@gmail.com. I’m happy to chat…

Thank you for your consideration, your ideas, and, I hope, your vote!



no photo 258x285

Ari Ghasemian

My name is Ari Ghasemian, and I’m running for the McLean Community Center Governing Board this year. As a product of public education --– from Chesterbrook Elementary School to the University of Virginia --– I know firsthand the role institutions like the Community Center play as a hometown’s anchors. I seek to serve on the MCC Governing Board in order to be a steward of the values that make McLean the vibrant community we are: respect for difference, giving back and the belief that we can all learn something new from one another.

Email: Ariformcc@gmail.com


 no photo 258x285

Katie Gorka

I moved to McLean with my family in 2008, and I found it to be a wonderful place to raise our young 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.

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: KatieGorkaMcLean@Protonmail.com

no photo 258x285 

Kristina Groennings
I grew up less than a mile from the McLean Community Center. I attended theater classes and arts programs there, and performed on stage. It would be an honor for me to participate on the Governing Board to ensure that the same opportunities that were afforded to me, continue to be available to residents of this district. It is also vitally important that we foster a sense of community, by presenting quality programming and opening MCC’s doors to civic and cultural activities. I would bring to the Board, arts experience as a former concert pianist, policy and board experience as former lead counsel to PBS, and experience as counsel to major entertainment companies including Warner Music and Disney.

Email: KristinaForMCC@gmail.com


kahn 258x285
Lauren S. Kahn

I grew up in Stamford, CT, where my family was very active in the local Jewish Community Center and associated day camps. I left Stamford to attend college at UConn and then went to Harvard Law School. After law school, I moved to the DC area, and moved to McLean in 1976. I have lived in the same house in Kings Manor since then—about five minutes from the MCC. I have been retired for some years and thought that involvement in the MCC to improve programming might be a way of giving back.

I am opposed to public funding of electric vehicle chargers in the MCC parking lot. There is no reason for taxpayers to pay for the charging of EVs in the MCC parking lot for people who come short distances to attend its programs. People buying EVs need to figure out their charging strategy before purchase and not depend on free chargers on every street corner. Free charging would be a subsidy for the people wealthy enough to buy EVs. The $250,000 could be better spent on programming and perhaps small raises for the long-suffering staff who have worked at the MCC throughout the pandemic. There are likely to be more setbacks in programming when Virginia inevitably has another spike and online programming for seniors should be considered. 

There seem to be two basic constituencies for the programming at the MCC itself (I put the Old Firehouse programming it in its own basket here): young kids and seniors. My kids, now in their 40s, participated in the kids’ programs when they were small. My son, now 41, got his start in the dramatic field when he was cast in “James and the Giant Peach” and “Charlotte’s Web” at the MCC. He is now a playwright. I would hope to get that restarted once the pandemic really ends.

I do have a website devoted to my travels: https://altecockertravels.weebly.com/. I have been to 46 foreign countries mostly through home exchange.

Email: laurenskahn@gmail.com
Twitter: @laurenskahn
Facebook: Lauren S. Kahn



lawless 258x285
James Lawless
Lifelong resident of McLean. Was in first class at McLean High School where I met my wife Barbara in Latin class. We were married while I was in law school after which I served two years in the Army. I spent my profession as a lawyer for NOAA. We lived in Scotts Run where I was HOA president. Barbara and I strongly supported establishment and construction of the McLean Community Center in 1972. I cared for Barbara who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the late 1990’s. Since her death in 2014, I have lived in King’s Manor where I have served as HOA president and currently serve on the Board of the McLean Citizens Association. If elected to the MCC Board, I will work to improve programs, outreach and participation.

Email: JimforMCC@gmail.com
shine2 258x285
Maire Shine
Born and raised in McLean, I want to give back to our community by shaping its future while honoring the traditions that make McLean so special. I have always appreciated the MCC for uniting and enriching the lives of the McLean community by offering diverse and engaging activities for all. I hope to carry those efforts forward as a member of its Governing Board, building on my foundation of community engagement as a longtime volunteer with McLean youth sports. If elected, I would serve as an energetic, collaborative Board member who understands the importance of preserving McLean’s sense of community.


Email: Maire4MCC@gmail.com



wright 258x285
Ishah “Laurah Guillen” Wright
Hi. I am movie star Laurah Guillen A/K/A Ishah Wright. Reasons to vote for me: First, I became one of the few people publicly known as CIA (verified by media and media online). McLean already had my 2008 CIA Director Hayden frequent this community, so it is normal for the people here to have a publically known CIA employee around (when some other communities that has not been normal for freak out in a not good way). The word, "intelligence," in the name Central Intelligence Agency, means high IQ. All CIA employees are chosen based on being verified by experts as the top less than one percent of the world's IQ (smart level). We were formed by a USA President to be an extension of the President's office in authority because we are the smartest and best. So, because I am among the very top smartest and best, that will help me to think of improvements and solutions for our Center.

Additionally, my history as a movie star gives me connections to be able to give our dance and theatre students greater access to those in Hollywood, California, who can place our talented students and teachers in movies to shine for us on the global TV/Cinema platform. My mom was the Burger King CEOs Secretary all of my growing up years and beyond, so I was also personally trained by those top CEOs (plus have the ability to contact those types of CEOs  to donate to our Center to offer more free programs and items from free food and coffee bars to free dance shoes and more for fundraising).

I'm a friend of Senator Tim Kaine, as well, from the same catholic church; and I protected him since CIA is a Secret Service partner. This enables me to contact Kaine to gain more funds from national funding already available to community centers. I'm not saying that the aforementioned individuals will illegally give because I a friend. I am explaining that in a country of one billion people, the few top billionaire CEOs in existence don't have time to focus on all entities to donate to, yet, they have time to talk to me as their friend which gives me a second to say, "Give to McLean Community Center."

I received an "A," in my crisis and city management classes (Hayden was a teacher). A community center is like a little city, so that education helps. I'm an visual artist as well, so can relate to those aspects of our Center, like the museum and art lessons. My reason for wanting to be on the board: To glorify God and give back to the community because Hayden and everyone had been so good to me and my now adult kids all of the time when my kids were minors.

Email: IshahWright@gmail.com
Website: IshahWright1.wix.com/vote
Twitter: @voteishahlaurah
Facebook: Facebook.com/IshahWrightAKALaurahGuillenForBoard

Youth Candidates' Personal Statements
Langley High School boundary area


Ivy Chen
Charlotte Loving
For as long as I can remember I have been going to the McLean Community Center. Whether it was watching a play, taking classes or just enjoying the park, the community center has been part of my whole life. I am very familiar with McLean and I have friends in both the McLean and Langley districts through softball, church and other extracurricular activities. I am the president of the Langley Nice Cream Club and it has taught me how to lead and plan along with how to make and achieve goals. Since the community center has been such a big part of my past, I would like to be a part of its future.


Email: charlotterloving@gmail.com
Instagram: @charlotterloving




Youth Candidates' Personal Statement

McLean High School Boundary Area



Max Blacksten
Max Blacksten
I am honored to be in candidacy for reelection to the MCC Governing Board. I want the opportunity to continue serving on the Center’s Governing Board because I want to be able to influence policies at the MCC and Old Firehouse, and I feel that I have the skills and experience working on the Governing Board over the past year to bring even more impactful change in 2022 and 2023.  Outside of the MCC, I am highly qualified to serve due to the diverse set of leadership skills I have attained through my extracurricular activities. Thank you for your consideration.


Email: Max4mcc@gmail.com
Instagram: @max4mcc


Tyler Jensen

Sarah Tran

My name is Sarah Tran, and I am honored to be a candidate for the McLean Governing Board. McLean has been excellent to me, and I view this position as an opportunity to contribute to such a friendly and welcoming community. I have led numerous activities that brought teens together and foster fellowship through nonprofit organizations, school clubs and honor societies. What I enjoy most is working with others who have the same goals in mind, and it is my belief that alongside the governing board, we will achieve the common goal of improving McLean for all of its residents.


Email: sarahtran4mcc@gmail.com
Instagram: @sarahtran4mcc


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 16. Residents may vote in-person or by mail. To request a ballot for your household, you may fill out an online form**, phone 703-744-9348 or send an email to elections@mcleancenter.org

**Thursday, May 12, is the last day mail-in 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 18. Remaining Options: District residents can still come into the center during all open business hours to vote by absentee ballot up until the 5 p.m. May 18 deadline; or they may vote in person at the McLean Day festival in Lewinsville Park on Saturday, May 21, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

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.

Absentee Balloting will end on Wednesday, May 18, at 5 p.m. All absentee ballots must be received at MCC by 5 p.m. to be counted.


In-Person Voting Opportunity:
Vote in-person between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. at McLean Day 2022, on Saturday, May 21, at Lewinsville Park, 1659 Chain Bridge Rd.

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

Return to the 2022 Candidates' Page