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Posted at 02:43 PM ET, 12/04/2012

Prince George’s Board of Education chooses leadership

Verjeana Jacobs, who narrowly won reelection for her District 5 seat, was selected to lead the Prince George’s County Board of Education Monday night.

The vote that gives Jacobs her sixth term in the chairmanship position was nearly unanimous.

Student board member Shabnam Ahmed, whose sister challenged Jacobs in the District 5 race, cast the dissenting vote.

After the vote, Ahmed said she looks forward to working with the board, but she hopes “in the future the student member will have more of a role and sit in on the executive sessions.”

Later, Ahmed said her vote had nothing to do with politics or her sister’s loss. It was based on the board’s de facto rule — supported by Jacobs — that bars the student member from executive sessions.

“I’ve moved past that,” Ahmed said referring to her sister’s defeat. “The reason why I voted the way I did is because you have to be a team player and hear all the voices.”

Ahmed said by preventing her from attending the executive sessions, Jacobs showed an unwillingness to hear from the nearly 124,000 students that Ahmed represents.

The board discussed amending its policy regarding student members in June, but it never adopted formal changes.

Ahmed said the board has informally instituted the change. Under the rule, the board has to vote to allow the student member to participate.

Ahmed said Monday night’s executive session was the first she’d been able to participate in since her election in August. “I think they let me in without a vote today because I think they sort of had to,” she said.

After winning the vote and hearing from her colleagues, Jacobs said the school system has “moved the needle. . . and we can move our educational system to its desired place of excellence.”

She thanked her supporters. “I am just a woman of modest means,” who grew up in Snowhill, N.C., she said. “I was raised by grandparents and parents who taught me integrity and I would do absolutely nothing to take away from that.”

She said she wants to end “the divisiveness, the bitterness” of the campaign and to “stay focused.”

In addition to Jacobs’s reelection, Carolyn Boston (District 6) was unanimously selected as the board’s vice chairman.

The elections followed the swearing-in ceremonies of Jacobs, Zabrina Epps (District 1), Patricia Eubanks (District 4), Carletta Fellows (District 7) and Edward Burroughs (District 8).

Epps fills the seat vacated by Rosalind Johnson, who resigned in October after it was discovered that she had been living outside of her district. Fellows replaces Henry Armwood, who lost his reelection bid.

Jacobs presented Armwood with an award, thanking him for his “tireless efforts and unwavering support of students.”

By  |  02:43 PM ET, 12/04/2012

Categories:  In other news... | Tags:  Md public schools

 
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