Eugene Kinlow, at-large member and former president of the D.C. Board of Education, has announced that he will seek reelection to the at-large seat this fall.
Kinlow, the deputy assistant secretary for equal employment opportunity for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, won a special election in the spring of 1979 to fill the unexpired term of Betty Ann Kane, who left the seat to assume her post on the D.C. City Council. Kinlow defeated five candidates that November to win a full four-year term.
Four persons have indicated that they may challenge Kinlow this year, including Congress Heights Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner McDonald Robinson, 42, a taxi driver. Robinson said he is running because he believes school board members have not been responsive to problems in school buildings. He said Kinlow "has not shown any of the spark we expected."
Kinlow's low-key manner and ability to work with different factions on the board signaled the emergence of what some have called a "less combative" school board when he was elected board president in January 1981. He said that he wants "to serve another four years to fulfill a former campaign promise to place the schools on par with any other school system.
"We haven't done that yet, but I think we are well on our way," said Kinlow. He cited as accomplishments the process that selected Floretta D. McKenzie as superintendent, as well as work to influence contracts with the four school system unions that resulted in longer school days and increased the accountability of principals.
In the 1979 race, he was supported by Mayor Marion Barry but said he does not expect the mayor's endorsement this year because "some distance developed" between the two during the time that he was president of the board. "Your responsibility as board president is to fight for the school system and there are inherent tensions between the board president and the mayor that flows from that," he said.
Others who have indicated their intention to run this fall:
Roger Wills, 31, vice-president of a private job training and referral service for young adults. Wills said yesterday that he served nine months in jail in 1975 after pleading guilty to a charge of grand larceny.
Dennis Sobin, publisher of "Free Spirit" newspaper, former operator of an adult "swing club" and unsuccessful mayoral candidate last fall.
Mark Parker, who could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The contenders have until Aug. 31 to gather the 1,000 election petition signatures necessary to qualify them as candidates.