Q & A with Belinda Queen, District 6 Board of Education Candidate

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This is part of an ongoing series of interviews with the 2018 Prince George’s County Board of Education candidates. Belinda Queen is a candidate from District 6 (see district map here) running in the general election. Ms. Queen answered questions generated by members of Prince George’s County Advocates for Better Schools. An earlier version of the candidate’s responses to our questions was posted in May. The following are Ms. Queen’s updated responses.

Prince George’s County Advocates for Better Schools does not endorse or oppose any candidate for the Board of Education.

Tell us about your background and your plans to move our school system forward. Why do you want to be on the Board of Education?

I am running for Board of Education because my heart and passion is for the growth and progress of our children. As for my background Growing up, I was an active member of the 4-H Club. I have internalized the essence of 4H: Hands, Head, Heart and Health. Hand for greater service, head for clearer thinking, heart for greater loyalty and health for better living. The 4H Motto is to “Make the Best Better” when I became of age, as a result of my 4H experience, I became a leader.

For over 35 years I have worked fulfill the 4H Motto. I would like the opportunity to apply that same concept within Prince George’s County Board of Education and for the Prince George’s County Schools.

I am a Proud PGCPS Graduate, mother of 12 Central High School graduates, 3 of my own, 5 of my stepchildren and 4 of my Foster/guardianship children. I currently have 2 still attending. I have eleven grandchildren in the school system as well. There can be no question that I have an invested interest in the successfulness of our school system.

I am ready to do all I can to see that, as a whole, We Win! I have volunteered in various PTA, PTSA and PTO positions along with being a past officer of the PGC Council of PTA’s. I’m still an active member of, at least, four schools. I have served and worked in the schools from North, South to Central from Wheatly ES, Thomas Claggett ES, Springhill Lake ES, Crossland. Walker Mill MS, Central HS and more.

I have worked as a substitute teacher, office worker or where I was needed for over two years and even served as Principal for a Day to get hands-on experience at the school.

As a believer of not just talking about it, but being about it I have gained a great deal of hands-on experience serving and giving back in the school system and to school-aged children (regardless if they were mine or not).

I have received many awards for my service as a parent and grandparent.  I am a strong community activist and involved in the Community as Chair of the District 3 Police Coffee Circle, VP of the Coalition of Central Civic Association, 37 years as an 4-H Leader and served as Wilburn VP for over 15 years in my Local Community.

In all this volunteer service, along with raising my family I have a real breadth of profound knowledge of the school system and will be able to draw from that experience and deliver as a school board member representing district 6.

Over the last 5 years I have learned so much in raising someone else’s children (diagnosed with several mental illnesses). For example, ADHD, Bi-Polar, Mood Disorder and Anger Management.

I have worked closely with the school, teachers and outside agencies to get them the education and help they deserve. My goal is for them to become productive citizens. All these experiences have prepared me to seek for this position.

What would be your top three priorities while serving on the board, if elected?

The top three things I would like to accomplish in the next four years when I am elected to the board:

  1. To find funds to retain skilled teachers. We must start to more highly value our teachers.
  2. To invest in hands-on innovative teaching strategies & technologies resources for all.
  3. To bring more transparency to the school board. Open communication between the school system and the parents is essential to rebuild public trust.

What qualities do you believe are most important in a Chief Executive Officer?

A CEO who Put KIDS FIRST.  Who is Creative and thinks outside the Box. That they Cultivate a range of partnerships particularly with parents, business and the community to support pupil learning and progress. To have Consistent, high expectation and ambitious for the success of all their pupils. The ability to persuade and influence, rather than direct. To properly equip all school with the tools needed for the success of all.

And to most of all be transparent, let the teacher teach and build collaborations.

If you had the opportunity to chair one of the existing Board of Education committees, which would you choose and why?

Finance, Audit and Budget to help oversee and make sure the money is being spent and invested in the classrooms necessary for the achievement of each students.

What are your impressions of the current level of parent engagement in our schools, and what ideas do you have for improving/encouraging parent and community engagement? 

I’m not impressed with the transparency and unwelcome Climate that has been created. Fixing School Max seem to be many parents issue saying its not updated by teachers until last minute.

Hearing of the unfriendly welcome that most parent get when going to the schools is an issue and climate we need to adjust. We most find ways to Fit into the parents busy schedules.

We have to do better and realize “it take the Village:” to find more ways for the village to step in and step us and help get each child to the next level. We need to established effective school to home and home to school communication.  Work on community Schools that connects students and families to community resources that strengths and support the students learning and well-being.

What are your ideas for addressing inadequate facilities and alleviating overcrowding, while communities wait for new school construction and renovation to take place?

By creating workable solutions like Teachers Aide for assistance, Community Volunteers, Union/Trade along with Business and non-profit Involvement. This will help the Students to focus on Learning and to decide if a trade is their passion. This also may bring in community partner and possible Assistance.

Name one book you have recently read. What did you learn from it? 

Who Moved My Cheese. I learned to expect change, anticipate change, to adapt to change quickly, to be ready for change and most of all that change do happen.

There have been questions surrounding graduation rates and grade fixing in Prince George’s County. According to the WABE report, Prince George’s County students continually scored among the lowest on the SAT. What can the school system do to improve the quality of a Prince George’s County education?

Let the Teacher Teach! Let the Student Enjoy Learning the way they know how to in this Generation with the proper tools and technology that makes learning fun and enjoyable. An more progressive school curriculum that is built around the personal experiences, interests, and needs of the students.

Many specialty programs (e.g. language immersion, performing arts programs) have waitlists because demand exceeds the current capacity, and some students travel long distances to attend a specialty school. Do you support the expansion of specialty schools? Why or why not?

Yes, I do support the expansion of these school and believe it should be offered in each School district. As stated before all school and students should be equip with tool necessary to help them become well rounded citizen and to reach their dreams or career goals.

Do you have any additional comments?

In closing, I am asking that you consider choosing me to endorse.  I am excited about the prospect of continuing my work of educating, engaging and empowering the community but also to be the voice for the community and for PGCEA.  I look forward to representing you as Board Member. 

I want to insure you that my answers to these questions are not just words or statement you may want to hear; but my Life experience, lessons and seasons lived right here in this County I so Love.  Thank you in advance for this chance and opportunity. 

Thank you all for your support, time and Vote of Confidence that has gotten me through the Primary.  It is an Honor and I’m looking forward to Standing up, Speaking out and Moving our District Forward.

Learn more about Belinda Queen here:

Read responses from other District 6 candidates:

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