Category Archives: Montgomery County Board of Education

Sebastian Johnson Announces Wave of Endorsements

Former Student Board of Education Member Sebastian Johnson is  seeking an at-large seat in the 2016.

Advantages and Challenges

Johnson’s strongest asset is his impressive resume. After graduating from Montgomery Blair, Johnson received his B.A. in Economics and Government from Georgetown and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School. Johnson has already worked with kids in the classroom as a teacher and in the community. He’s done a lot at a young age.

Johnson’s biggest campaign challenge is that he is not an MCPS parent. As a result, he doesn’t have experience with MCPS from that perspective. Nor does he have links to the PTA network that often produces successful Board of Education candidates.

Endorsements

Today, his campaign was pleased to announce endorsements from seven elected officials:

Maryland State Delegate David Moon (D-20)
Maryland State Delegate Marice Morales (D-19) Maryland State Delegate Will Smith (D-20)
Montgomery County Councilman George Leventhal (D-AL) Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Navarro (D-4)
Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart
Somerset Mayor Jeffrey Slavin

Some of the positive comments from elected officials included:

Nancy Navarro: I had the privilege of serving on the Board of Education with Sebastian, and I witnessed his steadfast dedication to public service. He has a keen understanding of the current issues facing our school system, and he brings a fresh perspective to the Board table. I am proud to endorse his candidacy.

George Leventhal: I’m very excited by the prospect of Sebastian returning to the Board of Education, where he served as student member. Sebastian’s life story embodies the success that we seek for all students. I wholeheartedly support his candidacy.

Kate Stewart: As mayor, an advocate for young people and a parent, I trust Sebastian to do what’s right for all of our kids. As a product of Montgomery County schools, he brings a keen insight to the challenges we face today. I can’t think of a better person to serve on the Board of Education, and I strongly endorse his candidacy.

Founder of Failed DC Charter School Enters Board of Education Race

Republican Gwendolyn Love Kimbrough is one of five candidates to have filed for the at-large Montgomery County School Board seat held by incumbent Phil Kaufman, who is seeking reelection. According to the Washington Post, Kimbrough founded a special education charter closed by the DC School Board in 2006:

D.C. school board members said last night that they will immediately take over the Jos-Arz Therapeutic Public Charter School after school leaders failed to introduce required improvements — including obtaining accreditation and providing a proper curriculum — at the special education facility. . . .

Despite the school’s early support from the council, Jos-Arz founders Rollie and Gwendolyn Kimbrough became embroiled in a longstanding dispute with the school board.

School board President Peggy Cooper Cafritz became suspicious of what she considered unusually high rent payments from the school to the nonprofit organization that owned the building and on whose board Rollie Kimbrough served. She also complained about contracts the school awarded to Gwendolyn Kimbrough’s company, American Therapeutic Services.

The Kimbroughs asserted that Cafritz and the school board sabotaged Jos-Arz by failing to refer the required number of special needs students that the school needed to survive. After losing thousands of dollars, Gwendolyn Kimbrough left her position as the school’s executive director in 2003.

As the operator of a charter school, Kimbrough has an unusual background for someone who wants to oversee MCPS. The failure of the charter school she founded does not bode well if she wants to be an effective advocate for new charters in Montgomery.