Scott Joftus, newly appointed to the Montgomery County school board to fill the remaining year of Pat O’Neill’s term following her death last year, said he plans to run for a full term in 2022.
Joftus, who was sworn in to represent District 3 last month, told Bethesda Beat on Wednesday that he plans to file as a candidate in this year’s election.
He said he hopes to leverage his professional experience as an education consultant and former teacher to guide the district.
Julie Yang of Potomac will challenge Joftus for the seat. She filed as a candidate last week.
Yang was among those who applied to fill the remainder of the term following O’Neill’s death in September, but was not chosen.
The filing deadline for the primary election is Feb. 22.
Joftus, of Bethesda, said his immediate focus is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and hiring the next superintendent. But he also said he is concerned about MCPS’ large class sizes and how that affects students’ learning and teachers’ ability to individualize education.
He said, though, he understands that the staffing shortage the district is facing will force leaders to be creative in finding solutions.
He added that MCPS could invest more in classroom technology and training on how to use it “in different and more creative ways.”
Joftus in 2004 co-founded FourPoint Education Partners, a consulting firm that conducts equity reviews, leadership coaching and school system improvement work in districts in 34 states.
Through that work, Joftus said, he is “uniquely prepared to understand” problems school districts face, and the unique and innovative ways they can address them.
“My perspective, having been a teacher and having worked on these issues now for a long time, is we need to make sure that those who have been underserved by our system for a long time are served more effectively,” he said.
He said he believes the school board could do a better job about “speaking with one voice” and administration could do a better job communicating with the community about how and why decisions are made.
Joftus has a child who is a junior at Walt Whitman High School and another child who graduated from the school last year.
The school board’s vice president, Karla Silvestre, has filed for re-election to an at-large seat. President Brenda Wolff told Bethesda Beat in November she plans to run for re-election in District 5, but had not formally filed for the position as of Thursday afternoon.
Judy Docca, who represents District 1, said at the time she had not decided whether to run again.
The Districts 1, 3, and 5 seats and one at large are the only four on the ballot in 2022.
Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org