This is part of a series of interviews with PGCPS Board of Education candidates. Verjeana Jacobs is running for re-election to the Board as one of four candidates from District 5 (see district map here) whose names will be on the ballot in the April 26th primary election. Ms. Jacobs answered questions generated by members of Prince George’s County Advocates for Better Schools. Leading up to the election, we will publish responses from other candidates as well.
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 why you are running for the Board of Education.
I am an Attorney, Licensed Consultant by Maryland Nonprofits Standards for Excellence Institute, and trained Mediator by the American Arbitration Association. I have over 25 years in public service working with multiple complex bureaucracies including non-profit organizations, government/quasi-government agencies, urban education systems and labor unions. Working with diverse stakeholders, I support group identification of a shared agenda and always seize opportunities to build respect and trust. In various leadership roles whether as Chair of one of the largest school districts (Prince George’s County), in the United States for almost six years, President of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, or as Vice Chair of the National School Boards’ Council of Urban Boards of Education, I have been effective in bringing divergent stakeholders to the table to tackle contentious, yet necessary issues with the focus on improving the quality of education.
I am running for re-election to continue to strongly advocate on behalf of students, parents, teachers and others who work tirelessly with our students. There is still work to do to continue to fight to reduce overcrowded classrooms, ensure services for our special needs students, and help to empower parents be the best advocates for their children. This is my life’s work. I care deeply about student success.
What are your top three goals for PGCPS, and how do you plan to accomplish them if elected?
My goals for the next term are to (1) Ensure accountability of student based budgeting so that schools get their fair share of the nearly $1.8 billion dollar budget allocated for the school district; (2) Continue to fight for Pre-Kindergarten for ALL students; (3) Continuous improvement of neighborhood schools, to include special education services
I will accomplish these goals through joint community effort. I will continue to find ways to empower families to be the best advocates developing strategies to resolve problems and achieve results – one issue at a time. In addition, I will continue to do the work necessary to be an effective board member – engage stakeholders at all levels, and collaborate with my board colleagues and the CEO through policy development and best practices.
What experience do you have working with parents or parent organizations, and how will you increase parent engagement with the system?