Gaithersburg resident running for Montgomery County school board

Gaithersburg resident running for Montgomery County school board

Rhode emphasizes students’ physical, mental health

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Cameron Rhode

via Cameron Rhode

A 25-year-old Gaithersburg resident filed on Thursday for the open at-large seat on the Montgomery County Board of Education.

Cameron Rhode, a 2012 Poolesville High School graduate, said in an interview Thursday night that he believes he could bring a unique perspective to the board as a recent Montgomery County Public Schools student.

Rhode, who holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and master’s degree in biotechnology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, said his platform will include a focus on students’ physical and mental health.

He is the only candidate who had filed for the at-large seat as of Thursday night. Current at-large board member Jeanette Dixon will not run for re-election.

The primary election is April 28 and the general election is Nov. 3.

There are two other school board seats up for election.

On Wednesday, current District 2 board member Rebecca Smondrowski filed for re-election. The District 4 seat, currently held by school board President Shebra Evans, is also open in this year’s election. Evans has said she plans to run for re-election, but had not officially filed as of Thursday night.

Rhode said he began volunteering in politics in 2008, when he was 13 years old by working phone banks for former President Barack Obama.

Since then, he has participated in several door-knocking campaigns for candidates of various levels and offices, and was part of a re-election campaign for former state Sen. Jennie Forehand in 2010.

In 2018, Rhode lost an election to the District 17 seat of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee by 64 votes.

He served as a student member of the committee from May 2011 to May 2012.

Rhode said he is committed to listening to and representing the voices of the community.

“The main thing is that I listen, and that’s been true since I started doing this,” Rhode said.

The seven adult members of the board all run countywide on a nonpartisan basis, although those representing a particular district must be a resident of that district. Each receives a $25,000 annual salary, aside from the board president, who receives $29,000.

There is also a student member elected annually by middle school and high school students.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com

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