3 new BOE members elected


Graphic by Charlotte Alden.

By Andie SIlverman

While the highly publicized presidential elections dominated media coverage, residents of Montgomery County also elected three new MCPS Board of Education (BOE) members: Jeanette Dixon, Rebecca Smondrowski and Shebra Evans.

The three open seats included an at-large position and one seat each for District 2 and District 4. All three new board members will serve four-year terms.

Dixon beat out incumbent Philip Kaufman 55 percent to 43 percent for the at-large position.

Dixon attributed her decisive win to all of the people who felt the district needed a change.

“I campaigned just about every day,” Dixon said. “If I ran into someone at the post office, I would strike up a conversation with them.”

Her platform emphasized transparency. With her new position, she hopes to provide a top quality education for all students, focus more effort in narrowing the achievement gap, add in alternative programs for at risk students and reduce class sizes, according to her website.

The BOE needs a renewal by gaining a new at-large member after eight years who will help it operate with a sense of urgency,” her campaign announced on her website. “The new member should engage in transparency, collaboration, and accountability for the $2.4 billion we are asking county taxpayers to invest in our school.”

Smondrowski has been the District 2 representative since 2012, and after defeating challenger Brandon Orman, she will continue to serve through 2020.

“I’m a voice for those that do not have one and will work tirelessly to ensure every student receives the excellent education they deserve,” Smondrowski said on her website.

Evans was elected as the  representative for District 4 and will be serving her first term. Evans is taking over the position from two term holder Christopher S. Barclay after triumphing over her competitor Anjali Reed Phukan. Her goal is to engage, educate and excel, according to her website. Under these initiatives, she plans to increase family contact with schools, close the achievement gap and increase new technology in schools.

Senior Elliot Snow said he believes the new faces in administration should prompt changes to the curriculum made last year.

“I think they should reinstate final exams,” Snow said. “The Board of Education should be responsible for setting a precedent that grades received should be the grades deserved.”

With new members on the BOE, issues that students are facing may be able to be addressed from a different angle.

“I think what we need to do is ask parents and students what they want,” Dixon said. “I am very hopeful that I will be able to connect to staff, parents and students.”