Prez of state education board resigns from county commission

Charlene M. Dukes, who was recently elected president of the state Board of Education, has stepped down as a member of a commission that was created to advise Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III on education policies.

Christian A. Rhodes, a top advisor to Baker on education issues, said Dukes resigned because she did not want to have conflict of interest by serving in both positions.

Dukes, who is also president of the Prince George’s Community College, has been replaced by Leslie T. Fenwick, the dean of education policy and leadership at Howard University School of Education.

Fenwick has more than 25 years of experience in higher education, public policy, philanthropy and urban PK-12 schools, according to her bio on the university’s Web site. She served as associate dean of the school of education and chair of the department of educational leadership at Clark Atlanta University, where she worked for 13 years.

The board, which has met twice since Baker made his appointments, has been discussing its charges, including developing an outreach agenda to improve the school system’s image and working with education experts to study “evidence-based and other education innovations occurring in the state and across the country.”

Members have talked about ensuring that their work does not conflict with the work of the Board of Education, noting that they are also trying to engage residents who may not have children in the school system.

Future agenda items: What should Baker’s role be in the county’s education system?

The commission meets the last Tuesday of each month at the County Administration Building.

Ovetta Wiggins covers Maryland state politics in Annapolis.

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