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Democrat

Shebra Evans

Where you live: Silver Spring/Aspen Hill

Date of birth: Nov. 25, 1971 

Do you have children who attend or have attended Montgomery County Public Schools? Which schools and when? Yes. Currently, one is in eighth grade at Argyle Middle School and another is in 11th grade at John F. Kennedy High School. Both attended Harmony Hills Elementary School. My oldest attended Parkland Middle School. My youngest has been assigned to attend John F. Kennedy High School in the fall of 2020. 

Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two previous jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: President of Montgomery County Board of Education. 

Political or education advocacy experience (public elected offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years; can include PTA or similar experience; do not include political party positions): Ran for Montgomery County Board of Education, at large, in 2014. Elected on Nov. 8, 2016, to Board of Education from District 4. 

Local PTA president (2009-11), secretary (2011-13), treasurer (2014-15). County level: MCCPTA delegate (2011-14), Wheaton cluster coordinator (2011-13), recording secretary – delegate assembly (2011-12), vice president for programs (2012-13), vice president for educational issues (2013-14). 

Co-leader of African American Student Achievement Action Group (2013-16). MCPS Operating Budget Review Group, Math Exam Work Group, Wheaton High School Advisory Committee. 

Campaign information: 

  • email: shebra4boe@shebraevans.com
  • website: www.shebraevans.com
  • Facebook: Shebra4BOE
  • Twitter: @shebraevans

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)
I am running for re-election to the Board of Education because I am proud of the work we are doing to address disparities in student outcomes by closing gaps in opportunity and achievement. We continue to make progress, but there is still work to do.

2 – What qualities or experience do you have to serve on the school board? (100 words max)
My experience, coupled with my leadership, has been an asset as we advocate for resources to ensure the success for all students. I was first elected to the school board in November 2016. I’ve served as the vice president and am currently serving a second consecutive term as the board president. My re-election to another one-year term was a unanimous vote and speaks to my colleagues continued support of my leadership. 

3 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)
The biggest issue facing our district is the recovery of education, as a result of COVID-19. As board president, I served in the leadership role from the beginning as we faced the challenges of moving quickly from in-person to virtual learning. I am committed to continuing the work with the board and MCPS with a laser focus on safety, quality and equity for all students. 

4 – What is your opinion of the current countywide boundary analysis? (75 words max)
It is a fiscally responsible approach to have the board review the entire district. 

5 – Do you believe school boundaries should be redrawn? Why or why not? (100 words)
Every factor is being considered as we consider school and cluster boundaries (geographic proximity, demographics, facility utilization and stability of student assignment). Since the early ’70s, we have done over 130 boundary changes. Our student enrollment has grown by more than 23,000 students since 2010. We expect 11,000 more over the next six years. This boundary analysis will give us a better overview and inform our decisions in future boundary studies. 

6 – What is one issue the current school board has handled poorly? What would you have done? (75 words max)
The board holds cluster meetings, public hearings, and various other meetings, but can always improve upon how we engage our community on issues impacting public education. 

7 – How well has Jack Smith done as superintendent? Give specific examples (100 words max) Under the leadership of Dr. Smith, we have redoubled our commitment to expanding access and opportunity so that all students have what they need to be college, career and community ready. Systemwide, that looks like universal screening for enriched and accelerated programming for middle and elementary school level. Expanded access to prekindergarten. Expanded access to AP and IB coursework. Extended school year for two elementary schools to prevent loss of learning during the summer. These are just a few examples of how the system is addressing disparities in outcomes for all students under the leadership of Dr. Smith. 

8 – What are the most important issues related to student safety? How would you address them? (75 words max)
It is important that students and staff feel safe and secure in their learning and work environment. MCPS has procedures on emergency preparedness in the event of an attack of some sort or if someone has a weapon. The board supported the “Be Well 365” initiative because it promotes being healthy, being kind and being you. This initiative equips students with tools to build academic and social resilience. 

9 – MCPS currently has an achievement gap for students of different races and socioeconomic backgrounds. How would you address it? (75 words max)
Our All In: Equity and Achievement Framework looks at individual student progress through the Equity Accountability Model, and how resources (people, time and money) are allocated and used at schools through the Equitable Access to Resources study. We have unmasked disparities in outcomes by disaggregating student performance by race, poverty, and the intersection of race and poverty at each school. The board and Dr. Smith have made equity and excellence a high priority. 

10 – Do you support raising the salary for school board members? Why or why not? If yes, how much? (50 words max)
I support raising salaries. My colleagues and I work hours equivalent to a full-time job. In addition, we approve budgets totaling over $4 billion. We have a myriad of other responsibilities. Being paid a livable wage will help attract a highly skilled and diverse pool of candidates.

11 – What has MCPS done well in responding to the pandemic? (100 words max)
The results of COVID-19 left many students and families facing challenges around access to technology and food insecurity. To combat the challenges, MCPS has distributed more than 160,000 Chromebook devices and thousands of wireless hotspot devices. The staff of MCPS had to learn how to prepare and deliver meals in a safe and physically distanced way. To date, MCPS has delivered over 4 million meals since March. MCPS has had to reimagine every aspect of how they operate as a school system. 

12 – What has MCPS not done well in responding to the pandemic? (100 words max)
The pandemic has required that MCPS quickly adjust to a brand-new way of teaching, learning and engaging with community stakeholders. It will be extremely necessary for the board and MCPS to continuously engage and listen closely to community stakeholders’ feedback. We all want what’s best for students and staff.


Steve Solomon

Where you live: Silver Spring (Wheaton)

Date of birth: 2/26/76

Do you have children who attend or have attended Montgomery County Public Schools? Which schools and when? No

Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two previous jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Radio producer/host, The Team 980 WTEM; Podcast host, “The Steve Solomon Show” and “Linn, Murray, Solly”

Political or education advocacy experience (public elected offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years; can include PTA or similar experience; do not include political party positions): 2018 candidate for Montgomery County Council

Campaign information: 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)
I believe that parents and students want their board members to give them real answers and solutions to their problems. I want to make sure the proper changes in MCPS are made, and the wrong changes are avoided.

2 – What qualities or experience do you have to serve on the school board? (100 words max)
I am a lifelong resident of Montgomery County. I have served on various boards and committees, and even hosted a podcast about Montgomery County. I believe that elected officials need certain qualities to succeed, such as hard work and responsibility.

3 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)
Although the curriculum in MCPS is strong, I believe that changes need to be made to better prepare students for real world jobs. I would expand vocational and technical programs to more schools in Montgomery County.

4 – What is your opinion of the current countywide boundary analysis? (75 words max)
I believe the most important factors in terms of boundary changes are: geographical location and fixing overcrowding in the schools that need it. I do not believe in putting a child in a school far away from their home. That means more travel time to and from school, being pulled from a school where your friends are, and not knowing what school you’ll go to in the future.

5 – Do you believe school boundaries should be redrawn? Why or why not? (100 words)
Boundaries are redrawn all the time to address growing population in certain areas and avoiding overcrowding. The process should continue with those as the factors.

6 – What is one issue the current school board has handled poorly? What would you have done? (75 words max)
The Board of Education needs to be more receptive and collaborative with parents and the public. Not enough time is spent listening and responding to issues that parents and students have. I would encourage more public commentary before changes in legislation are made.

7 – How well has Jack Smith done as superintendent? Give specific examples (100 words max)
Dr. Smith has kept MCPS as one of the top school systems in not only Maryland, but across the country. If elected, I would be working with him for the next four years. One thing that troubles me is that three of his top officials all resigned in the last few months, which has led to a reorganization in MCPS administration. I would like to learn why that happened.

8 – What are the most important issues related to student safety? How would you address them? (75 words max)
Gang activity has continued to rise in Montgomery County. We need more programs and education, beginning in middle school, to address and prevent gang membership among MCPS students. I would support further collaboration between MCPS and the Montgomery County Police Department to address this.

9 – MCPS currently has an achievement gap for students of different races and socioeconomic backgrounds. How would you address it? (75 words max)
Solving the achievement gap begins with paying, training, and keeping the best teachers and staff in MCPS. Also, we need more vocational, technical, and special programs to reach more schools. If everyone has access to the best teachers and the best programs, it raises all students up.

10 – Do you support raising the salary for school board members? Why or why not? If yes, how much? (50 words max)
Yes, I would increase it. The current BOE salary is $25,000 a year. I would double it to $50,000. If elected, I would need to keep my current job. I could not live on $25,000 a year. Currently six of seven Board of Education members don’t have another job.

11 – What has MCPS done well in responding to the pandemic? (100 words max)
MCPS has done several things well in response to the pandemic. They have provided Chromebooks for thousands of students who needed them, as well as assuring internet access during remote learning by giving out hotspots. They have expanded their meal distribution program and set up several pickup locations for students around the county.

12 – What has MCPS not done well in responding to the pandemic? (100 words max)
During the spring semester, as parents and students were adapting to virtual learning, the lack of real-time instruction and a connection to teachers was evident. Many students would just receive assignments and not see a live teacher during the school day. Then in the summer, MCPS did not finalize their fall plan until Aug. 25, right before school started. Parents and students did not know how to prepare or what the MCPS plan was until very late. MCPS has not accounted for the negative impact isolation and virtual learning has had on many students, especially those needing special education.


Republican

Shebra Evans

Where you live: Silver Spring/Aspen Hill

Date of birth: Nov. 25, 1971 

Do you have children who attend or have attended Montgomery County Public Schools? Which schools and when? Yes. Currently, one is in eighth grade at Argyle Middle School and another is in 11th grade at John F. Kennedy High School. Both attended Harmony Hills Elementary School. My oldest attended Parkland Middle School. My youngest has been assigned to attend John F. Kennedy High School in the fall of 2020. 

Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two previous jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: President of Montgomery County Board of Education. 

Political or education advocacy experience (public elected offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years; can include PTA or similar experience; do not include political party positions): Ran for Montgomery County Board of Education, at large, in 2014. Elected on Nov. 8, 2016, to Board of Education from District 4. 

Local PTA president (2009-11), secretary (2011-13), treasurer (2014-15). County level: MCCPTA delegate (2011-14), Wheaton cluster coordinator (2011-13), recording secretary – delegate assembly (2011-12), vice president for programs (2012-13), vice president for educational issues (2013-14). 

Co-leader of African American Student Achievement Action Group (2013-16). MCPS Operating Budget Review Group, Math Exam Work Group, Wheaton High School Advisory Committee. 

Campaign information: 

  • email: shebra4boe@shebraevans.com
  • website: www.shebraevans.com
  • Facebook: Shebra4BOE
  • Twitter: @shebraevans

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)
I am running for re-election to the Board of Education because I am proud of the work we are doing to address disparities in student outcomes by closing gaps in opportunity and achievement. We continue to make progress, but there is still work to do.

2 – What qualities or experience do you have to serve on the school board? (100 words max)
My experience, coupled with my leadership, has been an asset as we advocate for resources to ensure the success for all students. I was first elected to the school board in November 2016. I’ve served as the vice president and am currently serving a second consecutive term as the board president. My re-election to another one-year term was a unanimous vote and speaks to my colleagues continued support of my leadership. 

3 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)
The biggest issue facing our district is the recovery of education, as a result of COVID-19. As board president, I served in the leadership role from the beginning as we faced the challenges of moving quickly from in-person to virtual learning. I am committed to continuing the work with the board and MCPS with a laser focus on safety, quality and equity for all students. 

4 – What is your opinion of the current countywide boundary analysis? (75 words max)
It is a fiscally responsible approach to have the board review the entire district. 

5 – Do you believe school boundaries should be redrawn? Why or why not? (100 words)
Every factor is being considered as we consider school and cluster boundaries (geographic proximity, demographics, facility utilization and stability of student assignment). Since the early ’70s, we have done over 130 boundary changes. Our student enrollment has grown by more than 23,000 students since 2010. We expect 11,000 more over the next six years. This boundary analysis will give us a better overview and inform our decisions in future boundary studies. 

6 – What is one issue the current school board has handled poorly? What would you have done? (75 words max)
The board holds cluster meetings, public hearings, and various other meetings, but can always improve upon how we engage our community on issues impacting public education. 

7 – How well has Jack Smith done as superintendent? Give specific examples (100 words max) Under the leadership of Dr. Smith, we have redoubled our commitment to expanding access and opportunity so that all students have what they need to be college, career and community ready. Systemwide, that looks like universal screening for enriched and accelerated programming for middle and elementary school level. Expanded access to prekindergarten. Expanded access to AP and IB coursework. Extended school year for two elementary schools to prevent loss of learning during the summer. These are just a few examples of how the system is addressing disparities in outcomes for all students under the leadership of Dr. Smith. 

8 – What are the most important issues related to student safety? How would you address them? (75 words max)
It is important that students and staff feel safe and secure in their learning and work environment. MCPS has procedures on emergency preparedness in the event of an attack of some sort or if someone has a weapon. The board supported the “Be Well 365” initiative because it promotes being healthy, being kind and being you. This initiative equips students with tools to build academic and social resilience. 

9 – MCPS currently has an achievement gap for students of different races and socioeconomic backgrounds. How would you address it? (75 words max)
Our All In: Equity and Achievement Framework looks at individual student progress through the Equity Accountability Model, and how resources (people, time and money) are allocated and used at schools through the Equitable Access to Resources study. We have unmasked disparities in outcomes by disaggregating student performance by race, poverty, and the intersection of race and poverty at each school. The board and Dr. Smith have made equity and excellence a high priority. 

10 – Do you support raising the salary for school board members? Why or why not? If yes, how much? (50 words max)
I support raising salaries. My colleagues and I work hours equivalent to a full-time job. In addition, we approve budgets totaling over $4 billion. We have a myriad of other responsibilities. Being paid a livable wage will help attract a highly skilled and diverse pool of candidates.

11 – What has MCPS done well in responding to the pandemic? (100 words max)
The results of COVID-19 left many students and families facing challenges around access to technology and food insecurity. To combat the challenges, MCPS has distributed more than 160,000 Chromebook devices and thousands of wireless hotspot devices. The staff of MCPS had to learn how to prepare and deliver meals in a safe and physically distanced way. To date, MCPS has delivered over 4 million meals since March. MCPS has had to reimagine every aspect of how they operate as a school system. 

12 – What has MCPS not done well in responding to the pandemic? (100 words max)
The pandemic has required that MCPS quickly adjust to a brand-new way of teaching, learning and engaging with community stakeholders. It will be extremely necessary for the board and MCPS to continuously engage and listen closely to community stakeholders’ feedback. We all want what’s best for students and staff.


Steve Solomon

Where you live: Silver Spring (Wheaton)

Date of birth: 2/26/76

Do you have children who attend or have attended Montgomery County Public Schools? Which schools and when? No

Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two previous jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Radio producer/host, The Team 980 WTEM; Podcast host, “The Steve Solomon Show” and “Linn, Murray, Solly”

Political or education advocacy experience (public elected offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years; can include PTA or similar experience; do not include political party positions): 2018 candidate for Montgomery County Council

Campaign information: 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)
I believe that parents and students want their board members to give them real answers and solutions to their problems. I want to make sure the proper changes in MCPS are made, and the wrong changes are avoided.

2 – What qualities or experience do you have to serve on the school board? (100 words max)
I am a lifelong resident of Montgomery County. I have served on various boards and committees, and even hosted a podcast about Montgomery County. I believe that elected officials need certain qualities to succeed, such as hard work and responsibility.

3 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)
Although the curriculum in MCPS is strong, I believe that changes need to be made to better prepare students for real world jobs. I would expand vocational and technical programs to more schools in Montgomery County.

4 – What is your opinion of the current countywide boundary analysis? (75 words max)
I believe the most important factors in terms of boundary changes are: geographical location and fixing overcrowding in the schools that need it. I do not believe in putting a child in a school far away from their home. That means more travel time to and from school, being pulled from a school where your friends are, and not knowing what school you’ll go to in the future.

5 – Do you believe school boundaries should be redrawn? Why or why not? (100 words)
Boundaries are redrawn all the time to address growing population in certain areas and avoiding overcrowding. The process should continue with those as the factors.

6 – What is one issue the current school board has handled poorly? What would you have done? (75 words max)
The Board of Education needs to be more receptive and collaborative with parents and the public. Not enough time is spent listening and responding to issues that parents and students have. I would encourage more public commentary before changes in legislation are made.

7 – How well has Jack Smith done as superintendent? Give specific examples (100 words max)
Dr. Smith has kept MCPS as one of the top school systems in not only Maryland, but across the country. If elected, I would be working with him for the next four years. One thing that troubles me is that three of his top officials all resigned in the last few months, which has led to a reorganization in MCPS administration. I would like to learn why that happened.

8 – What are the most important issues related to student safety? How would you address them? (75 words max)
Gang activity has continued to rise in Montgomery County. We need more programs and education, beginning in middle school, to address and prevent gang membership among MCPS students. I would support further collaboration between MCPS and the Montgomery County Police Department to address this.

9 – MCPS currently has an achievement gap for students of different races and socioeconomic backgrounds. How would you address it? (75 words max)
Solving the achievement gap begins with paying, training, and keeping the best teachers and staff in MCPS. Also, we need more vocational, technical, and special programs to reach more schools. If everyone has access to the best teachers and the best programs, it raises all students up.

10 – Do you support raising the salary for school board members? Why or why not? If yes, how much? (50 words max)
Yes, I would increase it. The current BOE salary is $25,000 a year. I would double it to $50,000. If elected, I would need to keep my current job. I could not live on $25,000 a year. Currently six of seven Board of Education members don’t have another job.

11 – What has MCPS done well in responding to the pandemic? (100 words max)
MCPS has done several things well in response to the pandemic. They have provided Chromebooks for thousands of students who needed them, as well as assuring internet access during remote learning by giving out hotspots. They have expanded their meal distribution program and set up several pickup locations for students around the county.

12 – What has MCPS not done well in responding to the pandemic? (100 words max)
During the spring semester, as parents and students were adapting to virtual learning, the lack of real-time instruction and a connection to teachers was evident. Many students would just receive assignments and not see a live teacher during the school day. Then in the summer, MCPS did not finalize their fall plan until Aug. 25, right before school started. Parents and students did not know how to prepare or what the MCPS plan was until very late. MCPS has not accounted for the negative impact isolation and virtual learning has had on many students, especially those needing special education.

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