This is part of an ongoing series of interviews with the 2020 Prince George’s County Board of Education candidates. Shayla Adams-Stafford is a candidate from District 4 (see district map here) running in the June 2 primary election. Ms. Adams-Stafford answered questions generated by members of Prince George’s County Advocates for Better Schools.
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 have spent my entire career focused on education and issues of educational equity. I began teaching over 10 years ago in North Carolina using project-based learning. While there I obtained my National Board Teaching Certification. I then moved to Maryland where I worked in DCPS and became an award-winning educator and instructional coach speaking at the White House on behalf of teachers using project based learning in urban settings. I now travel nationally and internationally training teachers and school leaders on equitable, culturally relevant practices. I also operate a non profit, RemixEducation which has supported over 200 students across several states with mentorship and access to technology. In this role I have managed large teams and a budget of large grants. I presently manage a software and consulting company where we work at the state level providing services to teachers and leaders. I am encouraged by the immense resources and opportunities we have here in our County. With access to the nation’s capital and growing technology sector I think we are perfectly positioned to be the best district in Maryland. However, I am realizing there is much work to be done to truly make this district equitable for all students. As I talk to parents in my community, many are frustrated with the disrepair of our schools, lack of support for Special Needs students and years of corruption and mismanagement. I am running because I believe that with my perspective as a national leader in education, I can leverage my networks and experience to bring innovative and proven solutions to our issues.
What do you believe are the most important characteristics of an effective school board?
I think an effective school board will work together collaboratively and seek to engage all stakeholders in decision making processes. They would also hold the Superintendent accountable and strive to improve conditions for teaching and learning for all students.
What would be your top three priorities while serving on the board, if elected?
My top three priorities while serving on the board would be reducing class sizes through the construction of new schools and renovation of older existing schools. I would also focus on recruiting and retaining the best and brightest teachers to work in our school system. We are facing a teacher shortage and we will ultimately need more teachers in order to meet the logistical challenges presented by reopening to COVID 19. Lastly, I would prioritize ending the school to prison pipeline by supporting the training and expansion of restorative practices, and alternative disciplinary measures.