Dixon Unseats Kauffman on School Board

Dixon Unseats Kauffman on School Board

Smondrowski, Evans win races

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Jeanette Dixon appears headed to defeating Phil Kauffman.

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Updated at 11:58 p.m.: Former Paint Branch High School Principal Jeanette Dixon appeared headed to unseat Phil Kauffman on the Montgomery County Board of Education, as the county Board of Elections released the results of voting in 262 of 267 precincts Tuesday night.

So far, Dixon of Silver Spring had collected 181,808 votes in the at-large race versus Kauffman’s 141,812. Kauffman, who is in his second term, lives in Olney.

In a late Tuesday interview, Dixon said she wanted to increase students’ access to programs for gifted and talented programs and magnet programs, as well as language immersion and dual language programs.

She also said she wanted to increase communication between the school board and the community.

“The parents, the community want to be consulted before the board makes major changes. They want us to cast a wide net before we upend people’s lives,” she said.

During the campaign, Dixon said she wanted to limit student testing so that teachers have time to teach, plan, reflect and collaborate with fellow teachers. And at a candidates’ forum in September, she suggested the school board should have its own budget analyst instead of the analysts provided by MCPS.

During the April 26 primary, she was the top vote getter, garnering more votes than Kauffman. Dixon received 51,316 votes, or more than 31 percent, while Kauffman received 45,570 votes, or nearly 28 percent of the votes cast.

Kauffman was elected to the school board in 2008, and served as the board’s vice president in 2013 and president in 2014. He chairs the board’s Fiscal Management Committee and is a member of the Policy Management Committee.

In other school board races, incumbent Rebecca Smondrowski of Gaithersburg has garnered 205,011 votes against challenger Brandon Rippeon of Darnestown, who received 100,306 and is expected to keep her District 2 seat; and Shebra Evans of Silver Spring looks to have defeated Anjali Phukan, so far winning 204,557 votes to Phukan’s 94,165. Phukan also lives in Silver Spring.

First elected to the school board in 2012, Smondrowski chairs the board's Committee on Special Populations and is a member of the Policy Management Committee. Before joining the board, Smondrowski was a legislative aide for state Sen. Roger Manno and was an active local and county PTA leader. She has served on the Montgomery County Council of Parent-Teacher Association's (MCCPTA) Board of Directors.

Evans, a financial analyst who is active with the county PTA, said she wanted to expand community partnerships to support county schools and students, increase outreach for family engagement and involvement, and advocate for more enrichment opportunities.

At a candidates’ forum, the Silver Spring resident called for multiyear budgeting for MCPS. On her website, she said she wants to build urgency around closing the achievement gap, create more opportunities for career education and continue to invest in professional development for teachers and supporting staff.

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