MEET BELÉN RODAS
Committed Educator and Parent
I grew up in Virginia and am a proud graduate of Virginia public schools. My excellent public school education prepared me well for rigorous academics after high school. I graduated cum laude from Amherst College with a B.A. in psychology and earned a Master of Social Work degree from Washington University in St. Louis, with a concentration on direct practice with children, youth, and families. With a passion for serving my community and a desire to make a difference at a higher level, I then earned a Master of Public Policy degree from Georgetown University, with a concentration on education, social, and family policy. During my time at Georgetown, I was also a fellow at the Center for Research on Children in the US (CROCUS), where I focused on the issue of parental involvement in the juvenile justice system.
Ten years ago, I pivoted to combine my lifelong love of dance with my clinical education in psychology and social work and began the process to become a Registered Dance/Movement Therapist (R-DMT). This required additional graduate level coursework and a year-long internship, which I completed in Spotsylvania County Public Schools. Upon receiving my R-DMT credential, I accepted a position working in SCPS as a creative arts therapist.
After working in SCPS for a few months, our family decided to move to Spotsy from Fauquier County so we could fully invest in the community I had come to love. I also wanted our children to attend Spotsylvania County Public Schools.
I felt lucky to be able to spend my days working with some of our students with disabilities. I take seriously my responsibility to advocate for my students and their needs. In my role, I saw firsthand the challenges that our families face in navigating the special education system and ensuring that their children have all the support they need to succeed. I also learned from countless committed and outstanding special educators who inspire their students to reach their full potential even with limited resources.
Because I intend to win the election, I resigned my position at the end of this past school year. I now work as a school social worker in Fredericksburg City Public Schools, where I work to address our youth mental health crisis.
Other things about me: I am a mother of four children who have very full schedules and therefore I can most often be found in my car. I’m a dance mom, a theater mom, and a recovering travel soccer mom. My husband and I love teaching the high school Sunday school class at our church. I’m still in a studio teaching ballet and adaptive dance a few hours a week, because old dancer habits die hard and because it turns out that I am a pushover for my former students.
I have been working with and on behalf of children for decades in a variety of capacities, from the family court to the dance studio to our Spotsylvania schools. I look forward to continuing to support and advocate for my students – and all students – as a member of the School Board.