ELECTIONS THIS YEAR to fill four seats on the Prince George’s County Board of Education come at a time of great uncertainty for the state’s second-largest school system. Who will head the system when chief executive Kevin M. Maxwell leaves at the end of the school year? Will state law be overhauled to return to an all-elected school board? What powers will the next county executive have over the system? And — most pressing — what are the prospects of Prince George’s attracting a skilled educator to lead the system given the board infighting and political interference that have helped to drive away previous superintendents?
School board races traditionally get overshadowed by contests for higher offices, but it’s critical that voters pay attention this year and pick candidates who will bring steadiness and good judgment to the board. The process starts June 26 when the top two vote-getters in nonpartisan primaries will be selected to advance to the general election in November.
District 2 incumbent Lupi Grady established a reputation in her first term as thoughtful, responsive and collaborative, and she deserves reelection to a second term. Her experiences — as a child brought to the United States not speaking English, as the parent of two children in the public schools and as the new head of the Latin American Youth Center — give her insights into the challenges and needs of Prince George’s students.
Four candidates are vying in District 3 to fill the seat being vacated by Dinora Hernandez, and the most promising is Pamela Boozer-Strother, a small-business owner and community and school activist. She talks smartly about the need for parent engagement and how to enrich learning and is pragmatic about increased investment in school buildings.
District 6 has a crowded field with six challengers to incumbent Carolyn M. Boston, who is seeking a third term. Ms. Boston, vice chair of the board, is seeking a third term, and while there have been missteps — most notable was accepting (but later returning) a campaign contribution from Mr. Maxwell — she has valuable institutional knowledge about the complexities of governance that the board can ill afford to lose at this critical time.
In District 9, we endorse incumbent Sonya Williams for a second term. Not only has she done noteworthy outreach in her district — holding regular coffees and workshops and boosting news of neighborhood schools through social media — but also her experience as a civil engineer makes her a valuable resource as the system contends with aging infrastructure.
Early voting starts Thursday.