Montgomery County Board of Education District 1



Published:

NONPARTISAN

 

Maria Blaeuer

• Where you live: right outside Laytonsville, near Gaithersburg

• Date of birth: Dec. 16, 1975

• 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 programs and outreach for Advocates for Justice and Education, a nonprofit that focuses on parent empowerment and the rights of students, especially those with disabilities.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): None

• Campaign information:

 

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

MCPS is a great system, but it can be a better, more inclusive and responsive system.

Many students are not well-served right now and as a result underachieve, and many families and teachers feel unheard by MCPS’ Board of Education and administration. For example, parents know that great schools are healthy, safe schools, but the current Board hasn’t made sure that our students have safe schools that encourage them to grow intellectually, emotionally, and physically.

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

We have a well-documented graduation/achievement gap between white youth and our youth of color.

I support:

• Incentives for our highest performing teachers to teach at our highest need schools.

• Ensuring equitable access to magnet/specialized programs - including geographically equitable access.

• Recruiting and retaining more teachers of color and teachers who speak more than one language

• Investing in early education (Pre-K and supporting quality affording childcare programs) and in early identification and intervention.

• Investing in early elementary literacy – not reading on grade level by 3rd grade is a significant risk factor that we can and should address.

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

I have been disappointed with the Board’s decisions to disregard the input of the community in the policy creation process on several fronts:

• Student safety: Parents have clearly stated that they expect reforms in how allegations of abuse are reported and investigated, but that has not been addressed in a meaningful way by the Board.

• Families (and many teachers) have raised concerns about a lack of adequate PE and recess time, concerns about school food, lack of support for student mental health, but again, those concerns have not been addressed by the Board.

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

I am a former two-time PTA treasurer with 3 children. I have two children in MCPS right now & one who recently graduated from MCPS. I’ve also been an education attorney for the past ten years, focusing mostly on representing families in special education and school discipline matters. I serve on the board of a small charter school that serves at-risk youth and I have trained parents, teachers, school and district administrators, attorneys and other professionals across the country on education law and how to build stronger, more authentic school/family relationships.

 

Judy Docca (incumbent)

• Where you live: Montgomery Village

• Date of birth: June 24, 1939

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Third-term member of the Montgomery County Board of Education; retired Montgomery County Public Schools principal

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): I am running for my sixth term. I was elected in 1998 and re-elected in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014.

• Campaign information:

 

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

• Eliminate the opportunity gap for African-American and Latino students
• Support initiatives to increase opportunities in “Choice” programs for all students. Few seats have been added during the growth of the population in MCPS
• Increase diversity in hiring with attention to recruiting Asian and Latino employees
• Return teachers to classes from special assignments to keep classes in Special Education and English Language Learners classes small
• Use nontraditional space for special programs to ease overcrowding.

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

• Maintain budget priorities

• Keep positive relationships with funders — the State, the County Executive and the County Council

• Pay attention to overcapacity of schools; closing the opportunity gap; make sure “Choice” programs are available in all portions of the County — Upcounty and East County

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

We need to make sure our staff is able to receive appropriate training in curriculum, testing and reporting on student progress to parents and community members. Advertise meetings in which the public may ask open-ended questions about the schools and policies.

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

I have worked in education for 38 years as a teacher of Spanish and French; a coordinator in Human Relations; a teacher of Hispanic, African-American and Ethnic Groups in American Society. I have a B.A. in Romance Language and Literature, Penn State, an M.A. in Romance Language and Literature at GWU and a doctorate in Educational Administration at GWU. I was a youth sponsor, a vice president in the NAACP, a founder of the Montgomery County Alliance of Black School Educators, an SAT tutor and a two-term vice president of the BOE.

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