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Posted at 02:48 PM ET, 11/05/2012

Montgomery County Board of Education election ends Tuesday; 6 vie for 3 seats

Remember to make it to the bottom of the ballot Tuesday to cast votes in the Montgomery County Board of Education race.

Six candidates are vying for three seats in the election. The eight-member Board of Education is the policymaking body for the 17th largest school system in the nation, with nearly 150,000 students and a more than $2 billion operating budget.

Here’s a quick primer on the candidates with links to their campaign pages for voters that haven’t already cast an early ballot.

At-large seats

Phil Kauffman (incumbent)

Occupation: Deputy Assistant General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Family: Wife, Beth, two daughters who graduated from Montgomery County Public Schools.

Education: Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Law degree from the University of Maryland.

Previous MCPS involvement: First elected to the Board of Education in 2008. Served on the Montgomery County Council of PTA’s Board of Directors.

Quote: “We have to continue to be making our case to the County Council that the money it spends on education is a good investment. I think the County Council appreciates that we have a very good school system.”

Morris Panner

Occupation: CEO of DICOM Grid, an information technology company.

Family: Wife, Nancy, and four kids who attend Montgomery County Public Schools.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University. Law degree from Harvard University.

Previous MCPS involvement: Somerset Elementary Back to School Classic fundraiser.

Quote: “We moved to Montgomery County, like a lot of people did, for its proximity to D.C. and its fine schools. We’ve really been happy with the education our kids have received.”

District 2

Fred Evans

Occupation: Adjunct professor at the George Mason School.

Family: Wife, Trish, and two daughters. One daughter teaches at a Montgomery County Public School, one has graduated from MCPS and another still attends an MCPS high school.

Previous MCPS involvement: Retired Montgomery County Public Schools teacher and administrator.

Quote: “About 70 percent of our households in Montgomery County don’t have kids in school, so reaching out to the communities to make sure they support schools is an important responsibility the Board has.”

Rebecca Smondrowski

Occupation: Former legislative aide and special assistant to State Sen. Roger Manno (D-Montgomery).

Family: Husband, Ken, and two children who attend Montgomery County Public Schools.

Education: West Chester University.

Previous MCPS involvement: Served on the Montgomery County Council of PTAs.

Quote: “We have two retired principals on our board already. We have good institutional knowledge on the board already, but we have a vacancy of having a mother with young children on the school system — someone who has been volunteering in the communities and the classrooms.”

District 4

Christopher Barclay (Incumbent)

Occupation: Full-time member of the board of education.

Family: Wife and three children, two who graduated from Montgomery County Public Schools and one still in a Montgomery County high school.

Education: Bachelor’s degree from the Columbia College of Chicago.

Previous MCPS involvement: First elected to the Board of Education in 2008 but was first appointed in 2006. Previously served on the Montgomery County Council of PTAs.

Quote: In a questionnaire to the Montgomery County Education Association, Barclay said if he is reelected he would “continue to be an advocate for public education. Part of that work is representing the school system with the state delegation, the county council, and the general public and the media. Another part of that work is participating in and helping to manage the debate about the future of public education.”

Annita Seckinger

Occupation: Educator/Activist.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in environmental science and policy from the University of Maryland, College Park and a master’s degree from the Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden.

Previous MCPS involvement: Has worked in schools as a substitute teacher and volunteers in Montgomery County Public Schools.

Quote: “School safety is an issue for me because I do volunteer mediation at the schools, and I’m there every week. I’m with the kids and see the problems they’re having… I would like to see more conflict resolution.”

By  |  02:48 PM ET, 11/05/2012

Tags:  election, schools, education, Montgomery County, Maryland

 
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