Embarrassment of riches: BOE edition

We’ve had a lot of embarrassment of riches. The wrong kind. Typical shenanigans we get to mock, but this time…This time we are so fortunate.

The BOE race in Frederick County really only has one thorn. The rest of the candidates leave us feeling grateful for their talent, their engagement, and their commitment. They all bring a unique perspective to the table.

In no particular order:

Joy Schaefer and Zakir Bengali are respected incumbents on the board. They bring wisdom and experience to the table, they work well with others and have proven themselves good advocates for the needs of our students. They have performed their duties capably. Mrs. Schaefer speaks to an appreciation for different types of successful student outcomes, whether to learn a trade or continue on an academic path after graduation. Mr. Bengali, a retired scientist who advocates for celebrating the inherent strengths of an increasingly diverse community. Mr. Bengali has been unfortunately less visible in the campaign due to lack of presence on social media and a scheduling conflict with the FNP forum.

Ken Kerr introduced himself at the FNP forum as a teacher, administrator and businessman with the temperament to be a cooperative member of a team. The importance of these qualities really cannot be overstated. He has a doctorate in education and works at FCC, which gives him a great perspective on our community’s education needs.

Shirley McDonald moved from serving on the PTA in 1984 to president of the PTA, to a 21 year teaching career and has stayed active in education as a volunteer in the Citizens Advisory Panel. She wants to continue her advocacy for public education, and campaigning for BOE is a natural step in that direction. This evening at the budget hearing she stressed the need for Frederick County salaries to be competitive in order to attract and retain talented professionals.

Lois Jarman has already been on our radar for bravely coming forward to contest a situation where the Republican Central Committee intended to only allow the ideas of a single candidate for BOE, and we would be remiss if we didn’t again acknowledge the help of the Republican Women’s Club to do something to encourage a marketplace of ideas. One must presume as a Navy wife that she’s had good relationships with many a Republican woman over the years. She has run the gamut of roles at FCPS, from parent volunteer, substitute teacher, and 17 years in her own classroom. She emphasized that she would like to give back to the community that has done so much for her. Love this positivity.

Mike Bunitsky started his career in 1975 in PG County. He was most recently the Secondary Social Studies Curriculum Specialist for FCPS. He’s also held a range of roles. He says the two most pressing issues for FCPS are adequate funding and closing the achievement gap, and he thinks we need a lower student teacher ratio.

Jay Mason was raised in Lewistown, has a master’s degree in elementary ed, and has worked as president of Eliminating the Achievement Gap. At the FNP forum Mr. Mason expressed a desire to bring this into focus and to be a voice for the minority community on the Board of Education.

After poking around at these, we feel even more staunchly that we have a number of well respected, well qualified, and well meaning people running for the BOE. And that leaves only one we cannot advise voting for–silence speaks volumes here. You cannot go wrong with any of these other folks. This will be a tough decision. How lucky are we that the hard choice is how to narrow down a brilliant field of candidates? Thank you all for your candidacies.

How your options appear to compare 2 candidates on vote411.org.
How your options appear to compare 2 candidates on vote411.org.

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