HCEA Recommendations For Board of Education

The Howard County Education Association (HCEA), which represents over 6800 educators, is pleased to announce its recommendation of Mavis Ellis and Christina Delmont-Small for the Howard County Board of Education. These recommendations follow the December announcement that HCEA would recommend Kirsten Coombs for the Board of Education. HCEA’s representative council unanimously recommended all three candidates.

“These candidates each bring different experiences to this race. They share our passion for making our schools the best that they can be, and they are ready to make this Board of Education truly representative and accountable to the community,” said Paul Lemle, HCEA President.

“It’s time to turn the page on the current Board, and elect one that listens to educators and community members. This Board has consistently failed to listen on a range of issues—from adequate media and kindergarten staffing, class sizes, transparency in its budget process, middle school reading, standardized testing, the Race to the Top grant application, and the list goes on,” Lemle said.

“It was very difficult to select the best three candidates out of the group of people who have stepped up to create a better, more responsive Board of Education. We thank everyone who participated in this process,” said Stephanie Masters, an elementary Special Educator.

“HCEA members want to know, who is the candidate who best understands what I’m facing on the job? Who is ready to work with parents and educators to deal with our challenges? Who can win this race? I believe we’ve answered those questions,” said Masters.

“No other candidate in this race has Mavis Ellis’ set of qualifications. She has decades of experience working directly with families at the margins of our schools as a pupil personnel worker,” says Matt Gresick, a Reservoir High School Social Studies teacher. “Plus, she has years of experience as an advocate for educators in Montgomery County, where she works, at the state level through the Maryland State Education Association, and even the federal level through the National Education Association. That is invaluable to Howard County educators.”

“I’m excited to be recommended by Howard County’s educators,” said Ms. Ellis. “If our schools are going to succeed, we need to bring everyone in Howard County—and not just the well-connected—into the discussion about what’s working and what needs to be changed. That’s been my life’s mission, and I’m excited to begin this campaign with the support of Howard County educators.”

“Christina Delmont-Small has a wealth of experience as the past President of the Parent Teacher Association Council of Howard County (PTACHC). She has worked with educators on the Operating Budget and Review Committee (OBRC) to find inefficiencies in our school budgets, and she fought hard for greater transparency in how decisions get made,” Ms. Masters went on to say.

“For years, I’ve been working with Howard County educators to improve our schools. We need a Board of Education that is ready to listen to all voices—even when they respectfully disagree about what the best education for our children looks like. I’m excited to have the support of Howard County educators, who are among the best in the country,” said Delmont- Small.

For the first time, no incumbent members of the Board of Education participated in HCEA’s candidate recommendation process. According to its rules, HCEA cannot recommend candidates who do not return its questionnaire on time and then participate in interviews with educators. “Failing to engage with HCEA sends a clear message that the incumbents don’t want to hear from educators,” Lemle said. “This is how they behave with parents, students, teachers, and anyone else who they perceive as critical of the Board—and we intend to change the Board this November.”

To be considered, candidates completed questionnaires and participated in interviews with rank-and-file members of HCEA. Recommendations are finalized by HCEA’s Board of Directors and Representative Council, which includes leaders from schools across Howard County.