PTSA co-president Valerie Ervin will run for Chair of the Board of Education (BOE) in the upcoming primary election. Ervin filed with the BOE to become a candidate for District 4, which includes Montgomery and Prince George's counties, and will be running against three other candidates.
Ervin is a NAACP Parents' Council Representative and the Student Help and Academic Resource Program (SHARP) Liaison. She is involved in Blacks United, a two-year old program that deals primarily with closing the achievement gap in Montgomery County, and the Montgomery County Education Forum, a four-year old program that also studies and tries to bridge the achievement gaps. Previously Ervin worked as a union organizer.
Ervin plans to step down from her position as PTSA co-president as her election commitments start to consume most of her time.
As the PTSA co-president, Ervin has helped raise money for Blair events, reviewed school-wide policies and commented on issues brought before the BOE. Two of Ervin's sons have gone to Blair; one is in college and one is a junior. Ervin has been involved with Blair for the last eight years.
Ervin believes her efforts in helping the Blair community have given her a leg-up on her opponents. "I get a lot more phone calls and emails from the community. They see me as a different kind of candidate; I'm involved, I'm experienced, and I really captured the interest of many people. As an African American parent, I have crossed ethnic and economic lines. I have the support of organizations and the community," said Ervin. "It's not easy, but I'm trying."
One of the people who inspired Ervin to run was her father. "My father was born in the Jim Crow South, and we talked about that a lot. After a while I figured that segregation is still going on inside the school building. Superintendent Weist shined light on this issue, but I believe it needs more attention. The huge achievement gap shows this," Ervin said.
The decision to run for BOE was based on many things. "It was a monumental decision. I had to talk with my employer, family and friends. But after my father died, I figured I would go for it," Ervin said. "A saying by Bobby Kennedy when he was running for president has also stuck with me. He said, 'I promise to do all that I can,' or something of that nature. You have to be dedicated. I know I am dedicated enough to take on this responsibility."
To contact Ervin, email her at Ervinsolo1@starpower.net
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