Nine candidates are running in the April 3 primary for the Montgomery County Board of Education.
Incoming school board members will be tasked with overseeing the 146,000-student system and a budget of more than $2 billion. Working with a still-new superintendent, they will need to manage the challenges of growing enrollment, poverty and ever-higher academic expectations, including a new set of national standards and annual tests that will transform instruction over the next few years.
The new board will also be expected to continue improving its relationship with the County Council, after a few years of bruising budget battles.
The two top vote-getters in each race will continue to the general election in November. Board member Christopher S. Barclay (Silver Spring) of the 4th District also is seeking reelection, but he has only one challenger, Annita Seckinger, so he is not facing a primary.
The candidates provided statements to The Washington Post’s Maryland Schools Insider blog. For more information about the candidates, visit Maryland Schools Insider at washingtonpost.com/blogs/maryland-schools-insider .
At Large: Incumbent Phil Kauffman faces three challengers in his reelection bid.
●Lou August, 53, a technology entrepreneur, said he understands the global education landscape and how to make cost-effective decisions.
●Kauffman, 59, a lawyer, said he wants to continue helping all students attain the necessary skills for college or future careers.
●Morris Panner, 49, an entrepreneur, wants to bring more innovation to the school system and manage the escalating costs of school employees’ pension and benefits.
●Aryeh Shudofsky, 31, a venture capitalist, has emphasized the need for more career and vocational training in the school system.
District 2: Five contenders are vying for an open seat being vacated by Laura Berthiaume. Even though it is a district race, residents countywide can vote.
●Saqib Ali, 37, a software engineer and former Maryland state delegate, has campaigned as an “independent” candidate who would challenge “group think” on the board and strive for more transparent decision making.
●Susan Byrne, 55, self-employed and recently relocated from California, advocates for greater school choice and more creative teaching techniques.
●Jeanne Ellinport, 42, a public affairs consultant, said her experience shows a capacity to work collaboratively and manage difficult budget decisions.
●Fred Evan s, 65, a college professor and former Montgomery schools principal, has proposed additional ways to engage the community through new partnerships and forums.
●Rebecca Smondrowski, 42, a former legislative aide for Maryland State Sen. Roger Manno, highlighted greater school security as a priority, with stronger anti-bullying programs and more school resources officers.
district 2 candidates