Montgomery County Board of Education At Large (one seat) | Bethesda Magazine

Montgomery County Board of Education At Large (one seat)

 

Nonpartisan

 

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, impacted by poverty, English language learners, and students with special needs is critical. Steps include: 1) a pilot program for student learning plans for academically at-risk students, providing academic goals and linking students to school and community resources and 2) expand access to pre-K, Linkages to Learning, choice programs, CTE, career pathways, AVID, ACES, broaden the continuum of special education services and supports; deepen cultural proficiency; expand restorative justice; study extended year 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)

I previously addressed closing all of the Secondary Learning Centers without appropriate placements for all students. Now, I’ll address curriculum 2.0. The JHU report of 2.0 was harsh, which shouldn’t have been a surprise. Teachers and parents were unhappy with a variety of aspects of it from the start. Yet the board waited the standard five years to review it. Given 2.0 was written by MCPS (as opposed to being an established, tested curriculum), it should have: 1) conducted the JHU review sooner and 2) gathered formal, trackable data/feedback from teachers and parents from day one.

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 and the board. 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.

 

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 we need to be strategic to keep pace with change, including changes in our student population. We also 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 20 years of 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 to be fully ready for college and the workforce. We do it by recruiting/retaining outstanding, diverse teachers and principals that reflect our students. We have some outstanding people in these jobs; we need more. We must invest in early care and education from age 0-5. his is the single most powerful determinant of academic success. We must also offer more two-way immersion programs — these are a win-win for our 22,000 English language learners (ELLs) and all students. ELLs achieve academically and all students acquire a foreign language in elementary school.

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

MCPS needs to improve its communication, transparency, and community engagement. There have been several issues, including changes to the magnet selection process and moving the immersion program from Rolling Terrace Elementary School. 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 am a lifelong educator with very diverse skills.  I have taught English as a second language, STEM education focusing on hands-on science and truant boys. For the last five years, I have been Director of Community Engagement for Montgomery College and previously was the County Executive’s Latino liaison. I know Montgomery County very well and its education needs even better. On a system level, I have been a leader helping to close the achievement gap and also been involved in my local PTA. I am an MCPS parent and immigrant who understands our changing county.

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