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Ryan McElveen: The Savior of FCPS

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When significant weather reports are being seen on the news, the ever hopeful students of FCPS come together in what now seems to be a ritual, of photoshopping pictures of 27 year-old School Board Member Ryan McElveen’s face onto other pictures on Twitter. The photos, humorous in nature, are often made as a plea for school cancellations, while others are made to praise McElveen for canceling school.

“It’s hilarious [the photoshopped pictures] ,” McElveen said. “I only hope that my popularity can get more students interested in the work of the school board.”

His rise to popularity began on December 8th 2012, when he tweeted “#FCPS is closed tomorrow, Monday December 9. Stay safe!” He then took notice of how popular that was with students of FCPS and continued to be on the ball as he announced another school cancellation on the 12th. Since then McElveen has been engulfed into the social media lives of teens all over the county.

“I am much more careful about the things I post,” McElveen said. “I definitely face more pressure to post valuable things. My goal will be able to engage students in the work of the school board in fun and creative ways.”

School cancellations are not actually called by McElveen. The process starts with FCPS Chief Operating Officer, Jeff Platenberg, who communicates with the National Weather service to determine whether students would be able to safely arrive at school. He is the one who contacts Superintendent Dr. Karen Garza with a status report. Garza then decides whether school is closed or not. She communicates with School Board members about her conclusion and the School Board members are then able to provide feedback on her decision.

“He’s doing a great job by putting some transparency in the School Board’s decisions about cancelling school,” sophomore Jake Gold said. “It’s great that he’s using social media to his advantage, which is something a lot of board members should be doing.”

When awaiting to hear the news of a school cancellation, students flock to Ryan McElveen’s Twitter account because he seems to call it first. Because of this, his follower count has shot up from only being 8,500 seventy two hours ago to now being  15.7k at the time this article was published. This could be due to the fact that he announced yet another school cancellation the previous night, which is always a delight for students.

“Ryan McElveen is a bald angel sent to FCPS from heaven,” junior Alli Feuti said.

One look at McElveen’s profile on Facebook shows just how much he loves the creativity of the students in FCPS.

“It’s an honor to be photoshopped by students,” McElveen said. “The creativity of the posts is amazing, but not surprising.”

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