'06 alumnus applies for school board seat

Nov. 29, 2006, midnight | By Kathy Jee | 13 years, 9 months ago

Sebastian Johnson hopes to fill Board vacancy as youngest full member

Former Student Member of the Board of Education (SMOB) and 2006 alumnus Sebastian Johnson applied to become the newest and youngest adult member of the Board.

The District 4 seat will be vacated when Valerie Ervin steps down on Dec. 4 to take office on the County Council.

Before deciding to apply for the vacancy on the Board, Johnson, a freshman at Georgetown University, had to consider whether he would be able to serve effectively while also focusing on his studies. After some thought, he chose to apply and submitted an application by the deadline, which was on Monday.

Johnson believes his experience as SMOB, a position he held during the '05-'06 school year, would prove invaluable as a full board member. "I did a lot in terms of expanding the position and addressing students throughout the county," he said. During his time in office, he worked with the Board to implement the new grading policy and to develop new schools and programs upcounty.

Johnson has also been involved in other political activities on the national, state and local levels. He worked on the political campaigns of Ervin, Board member Nancy Navarro and Congressman Chris Van Hollen last summer and is currently a regional director at Our Education, a national advocacy group.

As a former MCPS student, Johnson believes he would bring a unique perspective to the Board. "I know MCPS firsthand as a student for 12 years," he said. "I can provide a great insight." As a Board member, he said he would work to ensure a better future for students and to provide every student with an equal opportunity.

The new Board member will be appointed by the other seven members to serve the two remaining years of Ervin's term after they review all applications and then interview a selected number of candidates on Dec. 9, according to the Board's Chief of Staff Roland Ikheloa.

Although the election is not open to the public, Ervin noted that the support of the other members of the Board will be essential to winning the seat. "It's a very political process," she said. "He's going to need at least four votes." Ervin expects that Johnson will face stiff competition, including community education advocates, based on the number of inquiries into her position.

Ervin views Johnson as a strong candidate for the position. "He's extremely qualified," she said. "He's already served on the Board, and he was an exemplary member. I think he's a contender."

Selected candidates will be interviewed on Dec. 9, after which the Board will vote to fill the vacancy. The new member will be sworn in on Dec. 12.

Kathy Jee. Kathy Jee is a junior in the Magnet Program and is excited to be a part of the wonderful Silver Chips staff. When not in school, she enjoys playing basketball and obsessing over "American Idol." She is looking forward to another stressful year of school... More »

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