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Three members appointed to Pr. George’s County school board

Three new members were appointed to the Prince George’s County Board of Education on Monday, completing the expansion of the board that County Executive Rushern L. Baker III pushed through this year.

Under the new structure, the formerly all-elected school board now holds three spots — including the chairmanship — for the county executive’s handpicked members and another spot for a county council appointee.

Aiming to strengthen a school system that ranks among the weakest in Maryland, the plan requires that the executive’s appointees have experience in fields such as education, finance, and management and that the council choose a parent of a current Prince George’s student.

Beverly Anderson, David Kaufman, and Curtis Valentine, who were sworn in on Monday, all boast credentials in education. Anderson served as an instructor, provost, and vice president in her 40-year career at the University of the District of Columbia. Kaufman once taught in the Atlanta Public Schools and now heads the K-12 educational consulting branch of communications firm Widmeyer.

Valentine, the council’s nominee, is also a former teacher; he worked in the Prince George’s district that he will now help lead.

Kaufman named foreign-language immersion classes, English as a Second Language programs, and training to help teachers adapt to new Common Core curricular standards among his priorities.

“How can we make Prince George’s schools one of the best school systems in the state, and also competitive globally?” he said. “It’s imperative that we make our schools not just decent but we really prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century.”

Joining a board that has been criticized for including a majority of members with no college degree, the new appointees boast hefty educational credentials. Both Anderson and Kaufman hold doctoral degrees, and Valentine earned a master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

The new members, along with Baker’s chosen board chair Segun Eubanks, who started the job at the beginning of the month, round out the now-14-member Board of Education.

This post has been updated.

Julie Zauzmer is a local news reporter.

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