Karl Frisch (he/him/his) is Chair of the Fairfax County School Board, where he has proudly represented Providence District families since 2020.
An accomplished non-profit executive and award-winning public policy specialist, he has earned a national reputation for his work on various issues ranging from consumer financial protection and land conservation to student lending and government ethics.
Most recently, as executive director of consumer watchdog Allied Progress, Karl drove to Washington every morning to help struggling Americans targeted by predatory payday lenders, unscrupulous student loan processors, and other financial scammers.
Earlier in his career, Karl served as staff for the Committee on Rules in the U.S. House of Representatives, which considers all legislation reported from other policy and fiscal committees to determine the scope of its eventual consideration by the full House.
In 2019, Karl was elected to represent Providence District on the School Board, garnering more votes than any candidate for that office in the district’s history. In 2023, he was re-elected by an even wider margin. He is the first openly LGBTQIA+ person elected to local office in Virginia’s largest county.
On the School Board, Karl has championed efforts to address learning loss, close achievement and opportunity gaps, recruit and retain world-class educators with increased pay, expand access to advanced academics and other enrichment opportunities, teach accurate history, oppose book bans, and ensure all students have safe and inclusive schools.
Additionally, he has been at the forefront of efforts to eliminate literacy gaps, prevent gun violence, support LGBTQIA+ students, keep immigrant students and their families together, rename schools that honored the Confederacy, address climate change, and give teachers and school staff a seat at the table through collective bargaining.
In July 2023, Karl was elected Vice Chair of the School Board by his colleagues, ascending to the position of Chair in January 2024. Previously, he served as the Board’s state and federal legislative liaison and liaison to the City of Fairfax School Board, Criminal Justice Commission, and the Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee.
In addition to being a past member of the Board’s Audit Committee, he has been a member of and chaired the Public Engagement and Governance committees. Karl was also one of the Board’s two representatives on the Joint Environmental Task Force (JET), which worked with the Board of Supervisors and community members to address climate and sustainability issues.
The ACLU, Capital Pride, FCPS Pride, Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions, Fairfax County Federation of Teachers, and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington have recognized Karl’s policy work with awards.
The son of an immigrant, Karl was raised in a middle-class home — his father was a union cop, and his mother was a waitress. He received a bachelor’s degree with highest distinction from the University of Virginia and now serves on the board of directors for the University’s Queer Alumni Network (QVA). An avid traveler and outdoor enthusiast, Karl lives near Marshall High School with his partner, a long-time public school teacher.