Choosing Board of Education Candidates

I was privileged to be part of a MCEA panel that interviewed candidates for the Montgomery County Board of Education At-Large seat. I’m an Elected Faculty Representative at my school but as far as I know, this was the first time that ordinary teachers were asked to participate in such a forum.  It was tedious but thrilling work, and we all took it seriously. Somehow it reminded me of serving jury duty. Even with a light dinner and an opportunity for small talk with colleagues beforehand, it felt like an important obligation. I was impressed that we stayed well into the evening debating who to support.

Five candidates submitted answers to a questionnaire in advance, which we read and then scored, kind of like grading papers. Then we met with each candidate for 30 minutes, heard their prepared statements, and asked them the same questions in the same order. We made our recommendations to the Executive Committee, who then made recommendations to the Rep Assembly, which voted with more than 58% to NOT endorse a specific candidate for the April 26th race.

I’m reluctant to say more but I have to get it out there — teachers were wowed by Sebastian Johnson, the well-spoken young man who presented himself as an exciting, viable alternative to the incumbent. It is my hope that he’ll be one of the top two vote-getters and will run against Phil Kauffman in the fall.

This article in Bethesda Magazine says it all better than I can.

And now this post from the Parents’ Coalition of Montgomery County about the MCEA Political Action Committee. I have no idea what this is all about. I’m just a classroom teacher interested in helping elect Board members who listen to me before making decisions. I feel that I’m taking a risk even posting this.

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Eva K. Sullivan teaches English Language Learners in Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland. She was an English Language Fellow with U.S. Department of State during the 2017-2018 school year, working with the Ministry of Education in Laos, Southeast Asia. She writes short stories, personal essays, and has completed a memoir about her experiences as an expat in West Africa in the 1990s.

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