Montgomery County Board of Education At Large (one seat)



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NONPARTISAN

 

Ryan Arbuckle

• Where you live: Kensington

• Date of birth: Sept. 16, 1984

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Current: Economist for Federal Railroad Administration. Prior employers: Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013-15); U.S. Army (2002-07).

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Have not run for or held public office before.

• Campaign contact information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

To help improve the education system and serve Montgomery County. I want to be an advocate for the families within Montgomery County and serve the needs of the community. Education is the key to success for all of our students and I want to see that each student is afforded the opportunity to succeed, from Pre-K through High School and into their Post-Secondary education goals.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

The most important issue in this race is improving the educational achievement of our students. With the recent findings of the Curriculum 2.0 audit by Johns Hopkins University, now is the time to work with educators, administrators and parents to develop a curriculum that provides the teachers the tools they need to impart their knowledge unto our students while allowing the parents to be involved in their students’ education. By improving the curriculum, we have the potential to see higher levels of improvement in our students’ achievement and ensure that all students within the County receive the best education possible.

3 – What is one major issue the current school board has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

In early February 2018, Montgomery County students expressed their displeasure with the current mental health support system within the County. While Montgomery County has support systems in place, the fact that the students are expressing their displeasure with the level of support that is being provided signals that these support systems are not meeting the needs of the students completely. In order to improve upon these systems, I would establish a working group of parents, teachers and the schools mental health professionals in order to establish what areas need improvement and develop methods to improve these areas.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

As a Veteran and Civil Servant, I understand what it means to serve. I have served the public in various capacities over the last decade and would like to continue to serve Montgomery County. I am familiar with academic achievement research and have studied education policies during my undergraduate pursuits. Additionally, I understand how policies and guidance are created within governmental bureaucracies and would leverage that knowledge to the benefit of Montgomery County Public Schools. Finally, as an Economist, I understand the financial challenges we face and would leverage my understanding of Economics to ensure the success of our schools.

 

Timur Edib

• Where you live: North Bethesda (Rockville)

• Date of birth: Sept. 6, 1962

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Lawyer at a solo practice in Rockville for 20 years. Also, an associate real estate broker with Sabrii Realty in Bethesda. Previously: A legislative analyst for Pennsylvania General Assembly's Legislative Budget and Finance Committee for five years overseeing education policy issues involving truancy, dropout, pregnancy and delinquency. Previously: Adjunct lecturer with Harrisburg Area Community College, teaching environmental science and inorganic chemistry.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): In 1992, ran for mayor of Phoenix, Arizona. Withdrew in exchange for an appointment to the Phoenix Excellence in Education Commission.

• Campaign contact information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

To change the paradigm! I have 25 years of experience with education policy: an MPA in Education Policy, staff to legislative oversight committee, served as an Education Commissioner, Adjunct Professor, General Counsel for a D.C. university. The community should be the focus of education, not the student. We must provide the best workforce to recruit the best employers. With a better tax base, we can have the resources for safe schools. It takes a village!

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

Resources, or the lack of it. Limited financial resources increases the class size, limits staffing, limits counseling, limits human interaction, limits construction, and limits access to opportunities. Focus on Vocational Education to train a cadre of technicians and artisans. Open student run and managed retail stores to sell products by the VE students. Engage agreements with Federal, state, and local agencies to reduce burden on budget. Joint venture with industry to fund programs, seek grants, accept tuition paying foreign students, empower neighborhood associations. Shift the focus on what the community needs. Engage the village, not just the PTA!

3 – What is one major issue the current school board has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

Sleeping with the Teachers Union. After submitting my petition to run for the Board, the very first email was from MCEA (the union), and they asked me “how would I support their agenda?” I find it odd that the system is skewed to a point that a Board member must depend on the “endorsement” of the union to win. I graduated two children from MCPS, and in all my interaction with teachers, counselors, and administration, I never heard a single one say that they liked their union. I will focus on learning, not teaching (read teachers). There is a difference!

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

My B.S. in biology allowed me to become a public school substitute teacher and adjunct professor in science. My MPA in Policy allowed me to apply Quality Circles and Total Quality Management techniques to teacher performance as an Education Commissioner. My thesis on Bilingual Education was a basis for our introducing a program to teach English to the parents of our ESOL students. As a policy analyst, I prepared guidance to legislators on how to impact student: truancy, dropout, pregnancy, and delinquency. As a university lawyer, I deal with federal and state laws to protect students on a daily basis.

 

Marwa Omar Ibrahim

Has not responded

• Campaign contact information:

 

did not respond to additional questions

 

Julie Reiley

• Where you live: Bethesda

• Date of birth: Sept. 3, 1963

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Retired. Previously: Professorial lecturer in law at The George Washington University Law School; trial attorney for Commodity Futures Trading Commission; legal consultant for Whitman-Walker Clinic Inc.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): First campaign for office. Has been on the boards of elementary, middle and high schools PTAs; has served on Montgomery County Council of PTAs Special Education Committee and Montgomery County Special Education Advisory Committee.

• Campaign contact information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

Strong public schools are critical to Montgomery County’s prosperity and imperative for our students. As an MCPS parent, and the first in my family to attend college, I’m committed to a differentiated approach that ensures all students receive a high-quality education that meets their needs and lifts their potential. After years of practicing and teaching law, and advocating on behalf of MCPS families, I’m ready to devote myself fully to our board, students, and families.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

MCPS has many pressing concerns, from security to capital, but meaningful progress on the achievement gap for students of color, students impacted by poverty, English language learners, and students with special needs is critical. Steps include: expanding access to pre-K, Linkages to Learning, choice programs (see, e.g., Metis grade 5 milestones in language immersion), CTE, career pathways, AVID, ACES, differentiated instruction; utilizing a broader continuum of special education services; deepen cultural proficiency and expand restorative justice programs; explore an individual learning plan pilot program for achievement gap risk students; study extended year student results; later bell times. 

3 – What is one major issue the current school board has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

MCPS should not have closed the Secondary Learning Centers (SLC) without ensuring appropriate placements and supports for all students with special needs going forward. I strongly support mainstreaming, and there were valid concerns regarding the SLC. However, MCPS should have replicated its SLC successes for students who need such a setting, while increasing appropriately supported mainstream opportunities for students with special needs. Since the closures, we’ve seen students lacking support, placed in inappropriate programs, or leave MCPS for at least part of K-12. MCPS must commit to a broader continuum of special education services.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

As an MCPS parent, I’ve advocated on behalf of MCPS families for years, serving as a Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) Co-Chair, MCCPTA Special Education Committee Vice-Chair, and on multiple PTAs, teams, and panels. I’ve advocated in Annapolis and before the County Council. I’ve received the Maryland PTA Lifetime Achievement Award, MCCPTA Special Education Committee Outstanding Parent Award, and President’s Volunteer Service Award. I have an economics degree (Pomona College), and a law degree (Yale); my training, years of practicing and teaching law, and advocacy provide the background and skills necessary for critical policy and budgetary decisions.

 

Brandon Orman Rippeon

• Where you live: Darnestown

• Date of birth: Feb. 22, 1972

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: President at Riptide Investment Partners LLC

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Montgomery County Public Libraries board member. Candidate for Montgomery County Board of Education District 2, 2016.

• Campaign contact information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

I am a candidate for Board of Education because I believe, as President Abraham Lincoln stated, "upon the subject of education, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in."

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

The most important issue in the BOE race is the overall direction in which MCPS is headed. The current Board believes the definition of "progress" to be the lowering of standards and requirements when it comes to academics and achievement. I disagree with this and believe all MCPS students should be challenged and expected to strive for excellence.

3 – What is one major issue the current school board has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

Standards, expectations, and requirements should never have been lowered. I believe MCPS needs reform in many areas including the strengthening of academic curriculum, healthier and more nutritious quality of served food, transparency in MCPS budgeting, and probity in financial decision-making.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

I was nominated by County Executive Ike Leggett and unanimously confirmed by the County Council to the position of Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) Board Member. I am very proud to be a Public Servant and to have worked in this capacity for the past 3 years. I wish to further my good works for Montgomery County and continue my commitment to literacy and education by serving on the BOE.

 

John A. Robertson

• Where you live: Clarksburg

• Date of birth: Dec. 6, 1967

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: School administrator and mathematics/social studies teacher for 26 years. Assistant principal, Roberto Clemente Middle School in Germantown (2017-current). Previously: assistant principal, Northwest High School in Germantown (2009-17); assistant school administrator, Seneca Valley High School in Germantown (2007-09).

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): No prior political experience.

• Campaign contact information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

I want to make a difference in the lives of students in a greater way. I’ve always been passionate about supporting the whole child. Throughout my career, I have forged relationships with students, families, and colleagues, so they knew I was in their corner. I want to continue to do this with employees and families across all of Montgomery County in order to be an advocate for my students and their families.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

The most important issue in this race is the mental safety of our students. Students are challenged by high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression caused by a variety of academic, personal, and social issues. If we are truly committed to actualizing the potential of the whole child, then we must put Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs before Bloom’s Taxonomy. I plan to increase the number of social workers, or other clinically trained providers, expand School-based Health and Wellness Centers, increase staff capacity to identify signs of trauma, stress, anxiety, and depression, and strengthen students’ ability to effectively regulate stress.

3 – What is one major issue the current school board has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

One major issue the current school board has handled poorly is the implementation of Curriculum 2.0. We must engage and motivate students by curricula in which they see themselves reflected and that is aligned to their psychosocial stage of development. Students need the authentic learning experiences in which they are invited to learn from diverse peers, use playgrounds and local communities as learning labs, and apply learning to real world situations. For this to manifest, our educators must be equipped with rigorous and relevant curricula so that students reach their fullest potential and highest levels of achievement possible.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

I’ve been in education for 26 years. My career as an educator began as a Social Studies teacher at Harlem Park Middle School, in western Baltimore City. While there, I led the effort to include Algebra into the curriculum by volunteering to teach the class after school. I went on to serve Baltimore students as a math teacher, Teacher Mentor, and the Founding Director of ConneXions Community Leadership Academy. I have been fortunate to work for MCPS as a teacher and administrator for Seneca Valley and Northwest High Schools. I am currently an assistant principal at Roberto Clemente Middle School.

 

Karla Silvestre

• Where you live: Silver Spring

• Date of birth: Aug. 31, 1972

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Director of community engagement for Montgomery College. Previously: Latino community liaison for Montgomery County government

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): First run for public office. Have served on Woodlin Elementary School PTA board and numerous Montgomery County Public Schools committees.

• Campaign contact information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

Montgomery County has a proud history of investing in education, but I think we need to be strategic to keep pace with change. Our student population has changed while at the same time, we have new opportunities to harness technology in our schools to ensure our children have the skills needed for the good jobs of the future. I will put my experience in education and community engagement to work for all our students.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

We must strive to graduate 100% of our students. It is the right thing to do for our students, but also for our county. People move to Montgomery County for the great public schools. We must have rigor and high expectations for all of our students, from the English language-learner, to the special education student, to those needing enriched instruction. We need the most rigorous curriculum for all our students so that they are truly ready for college & careers. Finally, we must recruit and retain the best talent because great teachers and principals change lives and transform schools.

3 – What is one major issue the current school board has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

There have been several issues, including changes to the magnet selection process and moving the immersion program from Rolling Terrace Elementary School. Overall, MCPS needs to improve its communication, transparency, and community engagement. Too often, decisions are made without substantial community input. Stakeholders find out late in the process and are not provided the information they request. If they do not speak English well, the problem is compounded, since the system is limited in its ability to engage parents in other languages. This causes confusion and anger among parents and can be avoided.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

I have twenty years of experience in community engagement and education. I have a Master’s degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania, with a focus on teaching English to speakers of other languages (ESOL). My experience includes: Director of Community Engagement for Montgomery College, Latino Community Liaison for Montgomery County Government, Alternative Education Program Manager, ESOL teacher, hands-on science education coordinator, Co-chair of the Latino Student Achievement Action Group, and former member of the MCCPTA Curriculum Committee, and Woodlin Elementary PTA Board member. I have built partnerships and relationships with leaders from all sectors of the community.

 

Stephen Sugg

• Where you live: Rockville

• Date of birth: Dec. 3, 1977

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Government Relations & Place-based Initiatives Manager at Housing Assistance Council. Previously: Adjunct professor at Tidewater Community College and St. Leo University.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): First campaign for elected office.

• Campaign contact information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

MCPS needs a fresh perspective. I bring that. From kindergarten to the teen years, our kids are too often doing worksheets, while their peers elsewhere are deep in hands-on learning. Our teachers need more license to innovate. And as other schools in Maryland and nationally embrace outdoor learning and the importance of play, our schools cling to the status quo. I know we can do better.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

MCPS needs to look beyond our county for ideas. Our current Board is entrenched in MCPS; it fails to embrace best practices of schools in Maryland and even internationally that are getting better results (i.e. higher student achievement). Often that means 1) empowering educators; 2) getting kids outdoors & moving more; 3) a broad curriculum that values arts, and civics alongside science & math; 4) hands-on learning at all levels. MCPS is top-heavy; our educators are ready to innovate and do what works — we must remove the bureaucratic barriers. A cookie-cutter approach doesn’t serve our kids well.

3 – What is one major issue the current school board has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

Our Board opposed legislation that would have aligned our PE and recess standards with what experts recommend. MCPS ranks last in Maryland for both. This was as MCPS physical education teachers and even Maryland’s pediatricians and cardiologists advocated for the legislation. Research is clear: movement makes kids learning-ready, healthy, and resilient. This is part of a trend: Our Board stands in the way of healthier practices at MCPS. I’ll act immediately to reverse this action. As a taxpayer & a parent, I’m embarrassed by the Board’s stance and aligned actions. Our students deserve better.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

• Ed.D (K-12 emphasis; William & Mary); research focused on a Maryland school that is a national model for school turnaround.

• Vast experience (state & federal) with budgets, high-level advocacy, and public-private partnerships; 4 years as a state-level higher education lobbyist & served on University of Missouri Board of Curators, overseeing a multi-billion-dollar budget.

• Taught 5 years at community college; social justice teaching fellowship recipient.

• A national expert and local advocate for arts education, outdoor & environmental education, & civic engagement.

• Father of 3 children (ages 6, 3, and 3) with 38 years of MCPS ahead of them.

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Vote for Karla Silvestre on June 26

A parent, educator and experienced community leader: Karla Silvestre for Board of Education, At-Large