Why I Am Running
As a father of three young Howard County Public School students, I believe every parent, every teacher and every community member should have a voice in our schools.
I believe we are at our best when everyone feels welcomed and empowered in the operation and direction of the Howard County Public School System.
This is an exciting time for Howard County and Howard County Public Schools. I want to seize the opportunities before us and maximize the educational advantages we offer our young people.
Why Am I Running?
The short answer is Leadership. That’s the missing ingredient right now. It’s an exciting time and I want to seize opportunities and build unity so we embrace the future together. I will provide visionary leadership and change the reactionary way we do things now. I’ll do that by listening to the community and advocating for more inclusion and engagement. I also believe we need to focus on transparent leadership so that we are sure each dollar is wisely spent, and that the community is informed and engaged. That’s how you build trust. With the right leadership, Howard County will unite, work together and seize our opportunities for an exciting future.
Diversity / Inclusion / Equity
Excellence through Fairness to All
School inequity is a threat to Howard County’s bright future. The educational experiences we offer students vary in quality, depending in large part on where a student lives, which results in equity disparity. We must assure all students have equal access to educational resources and facilities while providing teachers with all the tools necessary to empower our children to reach their full potential. We must continue to integrate the many cultural voices of our community into our curriculum, workforce, and professional learning standards.
If elected to the Board of Education, I will be committed to finding solutions, identifying funding, and pulling together strategic partnerships that will create equity in education and promote diversity and inclusion.
I will seek regular opportunities for the Board to receive updates from the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The Board and staff should work together to keep the community informed about this important work and accept accountability for making the progress we need to make.
I will build unity with an open door and an open mind, respectfully listening to all stakeholders, whether parents, teachers, business leaders or the many unique and diverse communities which make Howard County so delightfully distinctive.
Proactively Protecting our Students
As parents, teachers, and members of the Howard County community, we prioritize creating safe and productive spaces for our children. I pledge to continue Howard County Public Schools’ commitment to school safety, and intend to extend its initiatives.
We must do more to prevent the next national tragedy. I support measures to enhance school security across the district, including emergency procedure drills, strict sign-in guidelines, and expanded mental health resources.
However, not all threats come from outside the classroom. We must develop solutions for the often invisible obstacles students face, such as cyber bullying and local acts of violence. We must proactively build strong support structures and catch students before they fall through the cracks.
We can improve the environment for all students, including those most troubled, by reducing class sizes, increasing the number of teachers, expanding the role of campus social workers, and better integrating school resource officers into the school community. We owe our students a learning environment where they can feel free to learn and thrive.
Accountability / Transparency
Holding our leaders accountable
Our community deserves transparency in the Board’s decision-making, appointments and procurement. I will bring my expertise in executive leadership and procurement to all decisions; ask the tough questions, make the right financial decisions, improve equitable access for all, and keep the community informed.
We need a process for Board committees, often composed of volunteer citizens offering their valuable time, to inform the Board directly of their activities and receive Board feedback and direction.
I pledge to hold the Board accountable for its promises and to work on behalf of all Howard County families. We need to bring full transparency and accountability to Board processes, so that our school system retains the full faith and confidence of our residents.
Fix school facilities problems, don’t postpone them
A one-size-fits-all approach such as redistricting doesn’t solve our serious problems of overcrowding, deteriorating facilities, delayed maintenance and unequal access to recreation and sports.
Insufficient classroom space causes overcrowding in many of our schools. So-called “temporary” classrooms have become dreary permanent fixtures. The 188 “trailers” still in use today are themselves overcrowded and rapidly deteriorating. Delaying maintenance as a quick-fix budget tactic has shortchanged our children and teachers, leaving them faced with increasingly inadequate classrooms. Inequitable distribution of gyms and other recreational facilities means not all students have equal access to an important component of their physical education.
We can’t “draw” our way out of these problems by moving boundary lines on a map. We can’t do it failing to make basic decision such as the location for a much-needed new high school. We can’t do it by letting five more years go by before it opens. And we can’t do it while ignoring the same critical need for new facilities at our elementary and middle school levels.
With our system adding a net 1,000 students a year, we know that before the high school on the drawing boards welcomes its first students we will already need another one. Yet there is no sign the Board is making any plans to address this urgent situation.
I believe we need to be much more proactive in our long-term facility planning, rather than play catch-up while our students and teachers deal with the stress overcrowding and deteriorating facilities cause. They deserve better.
It’s time for budgeting leadership on the Board that puts the student experience first. We need not only a more realistic long-term plan, we need a sensible program to invest in our present infrastructure – school by school – so that we provide our students and teachers first-rate, on-campus facilities that match our desire to offer all our youth the best educational experience possible.
21st Century Technology
Equitable access for better learning, less homework
The current policy of asking students to use their own devices for classroom learning essentially discriminates against those who are less well off, while presenting a confusing array of technology to teachers trying to reach all students equitably.
By shifting to school-issued, standardized devices and giving our teachers the training needed to fully integrate technology into the curriculum, we can reduce inequity, open the door for an enhanced learning experience for all our young people, make classroom time more efficient and reduce the homework load our kids face.
The Board needs the leadership and management experience that will both champion new approaches and assure the budget reflects what is best for our students and teachers.
School Smarter for Better Results
Howard County Schools continue to approach the challenges of educating 21st century students with 20th century thinking. Overburdened with homework, rushed through lunch breaks, required to start school earlier than is healthy for young, growing bodies and minds, our kids are (paradoxically) rushed through the school day in a virtual sleep-walking state. This has to change.
I believe using advanced management techniques and better technology, we can offer students a more reasonable start time, extend their lunch period so that they have a relaxing break from their arduous studies, and make classrooms so efficient that students can do less homework and get more sleep. Healthy rested, relaxed students are students who are ready to learn!
I intend to fully focus the Board and administration on adopting progressive, enlightened methods and tools to rid ourselves of these old-fashioned and increasingly counterproductive practices.