Jill Ortman-Fouse Declares She Will Run For Re-Election to School Board

Former parent advocate is pursuing a second term in the at-large seat


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Jill Ortman-Fouse

School board member Jill Ortman-Fouse on Monday announced she would be running for a second term this year.

Ortman-Fouse, who holds an at-large seat on the eight-person board, wrote in a Facebook post that her time as an elected leader hasn’t been easy, and not everyone has liked her approach to the role.

“Everyone does not agree with the questions I ask, the data I want or people I’d like to see get access to the table. But I believe by asking the tough questions, doing the digging and creating new partnerships, not only do our students, teachers, families and schools benefit, but so does our entire community,” she wrote.

Ortman-Fouse of Silver Spring said legislators and council members have encouraged her to declare her candidacy, as the Feb. 27 filing deadline looms. At this point, no other candidates for the seat have emerged.

She wrote that she wants to continue the board’s work on issues such as strengthening mental health education and enhancing social emotional learning, she said. The board and Montgomery County Public Schools have also turned attention to creating foreign language immersion opportunities, improving cultural proficiency training, breaking down learning barriers and supporting immigrant students and language learners, Ortman-Fouse wrote.

She said MCPS can improve responsiveness and communication with families and staff members.

“[W]e have the smartest, most resourceful community in the country. We are beginning to seek to better listen to the perspectives, questions and suggestions of our stakeholders and improve our processes to be more responsive to that input, because it truly is our greatest untapped resource,” Ortman-Fouse wrote.

Ortman-Fouse is serving her first term on the school board. Before her election, she worked as a parent advocate and delegate for the Montgomery County Council of Parent-Teacher Associations.

Incumbent school board members Judy Docca and Pat O’Neill are running to reclaim their seats. Board President Michael Durso’s seat representing District 5 is also up for contention, but he has said he likely will not pursue re-election. Brenda Wolff, a former official with the U.S. Department of Education, has declared her candidacy for the District 5 post.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.

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