Find your district and select a candidate below to read their responses to our questionnaire. The Maryland general election will be held on Nov. 8, 2022. * Candidates displayed in italics did not respond to our survey.

At Large(Vote for One)

Campaign email: votemikelukas@comcast.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michael.lukas.3998

Age: 60

Employment: Retired after working for the Navy for 38 years.

Education: Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering, University of Maryland College Park. Graduate studies at George Mason University and Naval Post Graduate School.

Why are you running for the school board?  

Opportunity. That’s the answer I have given throughout my tenure as a board member. Providing every child, regardless of socio/economic background, the opportunity to succeed after graduating from CCPS. I represent all stakeholders in the system (teachers, parents, students, taxpayers) and hold myself accountable to them by maintaining high academic standards and fiscal accountability. I marched, lobbied, and testified for the Blueprint for Maryland schools, a transformational tool that will provide resources for full-day pre-K, poverty areas, increased CTE (career and technical education) programs, and incentives to hire and retain highly qualified teachers and administrators. I will continue to push these efforts.

What makes you a good candidate for the board?  

As a current board member, I have vital experience and leadership, given there will be seven new members. I am passionate about providing opportunities to ALL children who have grown up in poverty and understanding many families’ obstacles. I retired after 38 years working for the Navy as an engineer and Branch Head, my wife is a former educator (CCPS and CSM), and our son is a CCPS graduate. I am involved in numerous community organizations and desire to incorporate these nonprofits to help our school system move positively.

Please name a public leader you admire and explain why. 

Steve Jobs. As an engineer, I admire his tenacity and desire to improve the world. He left us too soon. Oprah Winfrey. Her work ethic and philanthropic endeavors speak for themselves. She came from a less-than-ideal childhood and captured the American dream.

What is your school board’s most important issue, and what would you do if elected? 

Learning loss and social/emotional health due to COVID. As a current board member, I have obligated funding for counselors and psychologists to help students deal with the effects of not interacting with students for over a year, which manifests in disciplinary issues. Academically, extra resources have been (and I will continue this) provided for programs to get kids back on grade level in reading and math. Parental and community involvement is also necessary, and I will continue to implement programs that involve our parents and community organizations in our learning process.

How concerned are you about school safety, and what, if anything, should be done to improve it?  

I am always concerned about student and staff safety. We have a “see something, say something” program, which has proven effective in preventing unfavorable events before they occur. Our school system has taken many measures to keep our schools safer, including guided vestibule entries for visitors, background checks for all volunteers and employees, and hiring a school safety and security director.

Do you have any concerns about how history is taught in your district’s schools, and if so, what are they? 

It needs to be factually accurate. We have expanded offerings and will continue to do so to be reflective of the community we represent.

Do you think there are circumstances when books should be removed from school libraries, and if so, what kind of books should be removed? 

Books need to be age-appropriate. As long as they are not illegal or violate COMAR (annotated code of Maryland), then they are choices for students.

Campaign email: electLetonyaSmalls@gmail.com

Age: 48

Employment: Yes, Easterseals Center Director

Education: Doctorate, Northcentral University 

Why are you running for the school board? 

Board of Education (At-Large)

What makes you a good candidate for the board? 

I am a good candidate for the Board of Education because I have a heart for all children, students, and communities. I believe in giving my all and providing students with the best care and education. I strive to offer my time and resources to children and to students to help them become better students and future citizens. 

Please name a public leader you admire and explain why. 

I admire the late Apostle Betty Bigesby (pastor of the Jubilee Worship Center in Dunkirk), who taught me that you must have a heart for people. She cared about who I was as a person, and she poured life into my lessons so that I would be a better person to help others. She believed that working on my character was the most important thing in life. She not only taught me what to do and how to do it, but she also displayed a life of what a godly character should look like. 

What is your school board’s most important issue, and what would you do if elected? 

The most important issue facing our school board would be higher pay for teachers. My goal is to advocate for teachers and find the resources I could use to help make this happen. Our teachers work hard, and I feel they should be paid for their hard work.

How concerned are you about school safety, and what, if anything, should be done to improve it? 

School safety plans should be added, and more security, bulletproof doors and/or windows, and additional safety preparation training for staff and students in all schools.

Do you have any concerns about how history is taught in your district’s schools, and if so, what are they? 

I feel that all history should be taught in schools. Students should be well-rounded in all cultures concerning history.

Do you think there are circumstances when books should be removed from school libraries, and if so, what kind of books should be removed? 

I feel that books should remain on school library shelves, and I also believe there should be more libraries in our communities and schools with more activities to meet the needs of the children and parents. There should also be parent advocates in schools and libraries to assist parents with their needs and the needs of their children.


District 1(Vote for 1)

Campaign email: voteSamichieCCBOE.D1@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SamichieCCBOECandidate/

Age: 47

Employment: I am employed but would like not to add that information.

Education: I have a master’s degree in Human Resources and Management Development from Bowie State University.

Why are you running for the school board? 

I am the mother of four children who has gone through Charles County Public Schools. I felt like I could add some more innovative practices to how we are educating students in the county. Having been an HR director for a number of years I think I understand what it takes for students to be prepared for college and for a career. I think some of those things are missing in the curriculum that is administered today, and also just how students are being prepared. That has led me to want to run and see if I can help add some industry innovation in how we consider how to educate our students.

What makes you a good candidate for the board?  

I am a parent who has had children go through the school system. I have experience in education, human resources, and public sector policy, as well as a lot of experience with budgets, contracting, and other things that a good school board member needs. I also bring practical, real-world experience and am an innovative thinker. I would research not only what’s happening in our county and our state but also international education and education across our country. I would look at other research to see how we can best use the most cutting-edge and innovative educational practices. I also have a lot of experience with foster care children.

Please name a public leader you admire and explain why. 

I don’t have an answer to that question.

What is your school board’s most important issue, and what would you do if elected? 

There’s a new structure to the school board. They’re moving from a countywide representation to a per-district representation. Two members sitting will return, the at-large member and, I think, district one. The structure will be different, and they have to learn than to work together to implement the Blueprint for Education effectively. I think the Maryland Blueprint for Education lends itself to a robust structure that will allow for a reinvigorated approach to education in the county. There will be new resources from the state, but over time, those resources will wane, and the county will then have to supplement those resources to keep some continuity.

How concerned are you about school safety, and what, if anything, should be done to improve it?  

I believe the school board has to work in tandem with the superintendent and other county safety groups to ensure that the students are safe. I also think that there’s a level of mental health awareness and support that can be put in place to bolster school safety. We should teach the students to understand when there are challenges in the school, give them a level of emotional intelligence to learn to defuse situations, and know when to speak with someone in the school that can help them advise administration of problems. If we can use the students as a resource, as well as teach them how to look out for things in the school system, that will be able to help school safety. 

Do you have any concerns about how history is taught in your district’s schools, and if so, what are they? 

I am not concerned with how history is being taught today. I would not title them as concerns, but I think there may be some gaps in how history is taught. I think every year there’s an opportunity to add more content to the curriculum in all areas, not just history, that will better suit the student’s needs and that is on par with current events to prepare students to be good citizens and good stewards of history and things in the future.

Do you think there are circumstances when books should be removed from school libraries, and if so, what kind of books should be removed? 

I think books in the library that are age-appropriate and meet the content requirements of the school should remain. We should trust the schools to make a good decision about what’s age-appropriate, but to remove books because adults have ideologies that they’re trying to present or remove from children, I think, is a challenge. I don’t think it’s about wholesale removing books. I think there’s a conversation that needs to be had with the community and the school administration. There need to be criteria established, and those criteria should largely be around whether or not the content is age-appropriate. If it is age-appropriate, it should remain in school libraries.


The following candidates did not respond

  • Cindy Coulby
  • David Hancock
  • Calvin E. Montgomery Sr.

District 2(Vote for up to 2)

Campaign email: electjb1@gmail.com

Website: https://juliebrownforeducation.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100080606378736

Age: 57

Employment: I am retired after 28 yrs in the federal government

Education: High School. I received my diploma from Thomas Stone High School

Why are you running for the school board?  

To get our public schools back to the basics of having a strong academic curriculum that challenges our youth. We are still severely behind, and some real changes need to be made.

What makes you a good candidate for the board? 

I have the time to dedicate to the board. I always try to talk and listen to the students as they are who I’m fighting for. They deserve a strong academic education to have a better opportunity for a successful future. I’m also an advocate for parental rights. I LISTEN and am not afraid to speak out on serious issues and will fight for the education these kids are entitled to.

Please name a public leader you admire and explain why.  

Right now, I admire Glenn Youngkin in Virginia for standing strong to improve his state’s school system despite some of the backlash he gets from other politicians. He’s staying true to what he said he would do. I admire anyone who doesn’t play the political game to get votes and continues to follow through on their word. I think the character is very important. (Maryland Gov. Larry) Hogan proved he didn’t have much of that.

What is your school board’s most important issue, and what would you do if elected? 

I believe the system as a whole is failing our youth. I’m watching kids graduate high school that can barely read. It is unacceptable. I’m seeing parents pulling their kids out of the public system to either home-school them or send them to private schools. Politics DO NOT belong in schools. We are lowering the required GPA to 2.25 when that’s the worst thing we can do now. Again, get a strong ACADEMIC base back and begin to challenge these kids. EDUCATE THEM. They deserve better, and that’s what I’ll fight to give them.

How concerned are you about school safety, and what, if anything, should be done to improve it?  

Very concerned. I have spoken with MANY kids, and they are afraid within their schools. Kids are bringing in weapons, and nothing is done. It is impossible to learn if a kid is constantly in fight or flight mode. We have allowed it to get this far, so I would favor metal detectors to help ensure safety. The lack of holding kids responsible for their actions is a huge problem.

Do you have any concerns about how history is taught in your district’s schools, and if so, what are they? 

Teach ACCURATE history. Tell them the whole truth. Show them the progress that has been made, and stop promoting victimhood. Let us learn from the past and move forward. Kids are STILL being taught how different they are and defined by their skin color. It’s not natural, and it needs to stop. But I think the constant attempts to divide them are not by accident.

Do you think there are circumstances when books should be removed from school libraries, and if so, what kind of books should be removed?  

Any books deemed pornographic should have never been put in schools. Kids aren’t allowed to bring in Bibles, yet books pornographic in nature are ok? (A spokesperson for the Charles County Public Schools said the district has no such policy barring students from bringing Bibles to school.) As I have said, they should not be in schools, especially in the library, accessible to any age student. GET POLITICS OUT OF OUR SCHOOLS!

Campaign email: contact@electjasonhenry.com

Website: www.ElectJasonHenry.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElectJasonHenry

Age: 51

Employment: Information Services, Enterprise Desktop Administrator

Education: Control Data Institute of Technology, Completed

Why are you running for the school board?  

I am committed to creating a diverse environment for positive teaching and learning for all Charles County Public School (CCPS) students. My goal is to advocate for the community while fostering business engagement and creating community partnerships to advance CCPS.

What makes you a good candidate for the board?  

A lifelong resident of Charles County and District 2. Active community members and youth mentors.

Please name a public leader you admire and explain why. 

Nelson Mandela.

What is your school board’s most important issue, and what would you do if elected?  

Safety of our schools for students and staff. Increasing behavioral challenges, teachers’ salaries, and school/classroom overcrowding.

How concerned are you about school safety, and what, if anything, should be done to improve it?  

Very concerned for school student’s and staff well being.

Do you have any concerns about how history is taught in your district’s schools, and if so, what are they? 

I would like a shift toward an accurate and full account of American history.

Do you think there are circumstances when books should be removed from school libraries, and if so, what kind of books should be removed? 

Yes, if the reading material isn’t age-appropriate or false.

The following candidates did not respond

  • Jamila Smith
  • Brenda L. Thomas

District 3(Vote for up to 2)

Campaign email: nicolekreamerforschoolboard@gmail.com

Website: nicolekreamerforschoolboard.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicole.kreamer.9

Age: Not disclosed

Employment: Local hospital, Physician Liaison Project Manager

Education: Master’s in Healthcare Administration and MBA from the University of Maryland

Why are you running for the school board?

As a parent of a child attending Charles County Public Schools and a substitute teacher, I am deeply invested in ensuring that our school system produces a high-quality education for every student. I am a lifelong learner and a first-generation college student, so I understand the value of an education and the impact it can have on the lives of our students and families. With the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future passing, our state has a unique opportunity to transform education for generations. I want to ensure that it is implemented appropriately, completely, and with fidelity.

What makes you a good candidate for the board? 

As the only candidate running in my district with a child currently in the public school system, I am deeply invested in ensuring our students receive a high-quality education. The decisions will directly impact what I would make as a board member. My platform focuses on four pillars: Equity for all students (including mental health services and special education services implementation); Teacher Advocacy & Support; Community & Family Engagement; and Transparent & Open Communication. I intend to be accessible, transparent, and accountable as a public servant should be to their constituents.

Please name a public leader you admire and explain why.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  As only the second woman in history to become a Supreme Court justice, she defied many odds and overcame many obstacles. Most importantly, she was a champion for equality and equal rights. I admire her work, which left a lasting legacy in our country and the world.

What is your school board’s most important issue, and what would you do if elected? 

Impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, including learning loss and mental health needs, are our school community’s most important issues. 

I would like to focus on added support to ensure that our special education students receive the services they need to succeed. I would also advocate for additional programs, including summer enrichment, accelerated learning courses, partnerships with tutoring centers, etc. to help students get back on grade level or beyond. 

In addition, I would like to focus on hiring more mental health professionals, including school counselors, mediators, etc., to address the increased mental health needs of the students, teachers, and school staff.

How concerned are you about school safety, and what, if anything, should be done to improve it? 

As a parent, school safety is always in the back of my mind, as I am sure it is for many parents.  To ensure our schools are safe from threats and individuals that seek to harm our students, we must take a multi-layered approach to include comprehensive screening and reevaluation of teachers, visitors, volunteers, and anyone who enters our school building. We must also foster a culture of ownership with our entire school community to encourage “see something, say something.”  Finally, we must continually evaluate and test our safety mechanisms working closely with our Director of School Safety to ensure that the processes in place continue to be effective.

Do you have any concerns about how history is taught in your district’s schools, and if so, what are they? 

Students are in school to become educated.  My only concern is that history is taught as accurately as possible at an age-appropriate level and that the curriculum is culturally competent and responsive and includes the contributions and lessons from all groups of people in our communities.

Do you think there are circumstances when books should be removed from school libraries, and if so, what kind of books should be removed? 

In most cases, I do not feel there is any reason to remove a book from a school library. There may be topics that are not age-appropriate; in those instances, the librarian does a good job directing students to the appropriate books for their age and grade. This would have to be addressed case-by-case basis, of course, and I would have to consult with my colleagues as a board member.

Campaign emailderonforccboe@gmail.com

Website: www.deronforccboe.com

Facebook: Friends of Deron Tross

Employment: IT Research Contractor

Education: Masters of Public Administration from George Mason University 

Why are you running for the school board? 

I can work with people and am very involved in the community.

What makes you a good candidate for the board? 

I’m passionate about learning and community service. I was that special needs student who needed support. We need someone at the table who will speak for them.

Please name a public leader you admire and explain why. 

Martin Luther King because he stood for fairness for all.

What is your school board’s most important issue, and what would you do if elected? 

Funding, special needs students, and teacher retention

How concerned are you about school safety, and what, if anything, should be done to improve it?  

I’m very concerned, and we should do more (metal detectors). We already have sheriff officers in our schools.

Do you have any concerns about how history is taught in your district’s schools, and if so, what are they? 

No.

Do you think there are circumstances when books should be removed from school libraries, and if so, what kind of books should be removed? 

No.

Campaign email: ittakesavillage2226@yahoo.com

Website: https://www.wallaceforccboe.com/

Age: 54

Employment: DOD, Financial analysis

Education: MBA

Why are you running for the school board? 

To ensure every senior graduate with a viable skill…this is why I support expanding vocational and technical training.

What makes you a good candidate for the board? 

I am a Navy veteran, a father of two, have been married for 32 years, and believe strongly in community service. Over the last 17 years, I have been involved in many community events through my church and other nonprofit initiatives.

Please name a public leader you admire and explain why

Nelson Mandela; because he saw a need for change and was willing to sacrifice his comfort to ensure all South Africans were treated with dignity and respect due to everyone in South Africa and around the world.

What is your school board’s most important issue, and what would you do if elected? 

One of our school board’s biggest issues is the lack of parental involvement.

Should I be elected, I would reach out to faith base leaders and nonprofit organizations to help connect with more parents. Also, I would host more events within each community.

How concerned are you about school safety, and what, if anything, should be done to improve it? 

I am very concerned about school safety. I would work with our sheriff’s department to develop a more comprehensive plan. A plan that examines what we currently have in place and what’s not working and see what works best in other districts.

Do you have any concerns about how history is taught in your district’s schools, and if so, what are they? 

I strongly believe we should have comprehensive, detailed teaching of history. Give teachers the ability to teach without restrictions. 

Do you think there are circumstances when books should be removed from school libraries, and if so, what kind of books should be removed?

Schools are a place of learning even when the topic might be uncomfortable. a place where students can investigate topics, even opposing viewpoints should be allowed. So my answer is no.

The following candidates did not respond

  • Dottery Butler-Washington

District 4(Vote for up to 2)

Campaign email: yonelle@yonelle4ccboe.com

Website: https://www.yonelle4ccboe.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yonelle4ccboe

Age: 47

Employment: Attorney/mediator

Education: Juris Doctor, Pepperdine University School of Law

Why are you running for the school board?  

I am running because I am passionate and committed to improving the education system for all children in Charles County, including my own. I want to ensure equity in education, change the current school climate, and overcome the student learning loss exacerbated by COVID.

What makes you a good candidate for the board?  

I am an attorney, mediator, and advocate with over 20 years of experience. I have served in various related capacities within the school system, including as a foster parent, volunteer, very involved parent, and PTO officer. I have experience with contracts, dispute resolution, and working with various personalities and stakeholders.

Please name a public leader you admire and explain why.

I admire Stacey Abrams very much because she turned her pain and defeat into purpose. She is candid about the obstacles she has had to overcome and remains steadfast in her determination to ensure a fair election process. Stacey is driven, accomplished, and incredibly resilient.

What is your school board’s most important issue, and what would you do if elected? 

Although selecting just one issue is difficult, I believe our current school climate and culture need improvement. We have underpaid teachers and other staff who feel unappreciated, student learning loss, and school safety issues. We must make teachers and staff feel respected and motivated to teach and remain in Charles County. Students should feel excited to learn, and that school is a safe space.

How concerned are you about school safety, and what, if anything, should be done to improve it?  

I am very concerned about school safety as it is a fundamental part of education. More restorative practices should be implemented consistently and uniformly across the county. Children need to be taught alternatives to fighting at an early age and healthy ways to express their emotions. We need to consider the whole child and any factors affecting their behavior.

Do you have any concerns about how history is taught in your district’s schools, and if so, what are they? 

Based on teachers’ and students’ feedback, crucial elements are sometimes minimized (such as Native American history). History should be taught as it occurred at an age-appropriate level. Textbooks and teaching materials need to be historically accurate without being watered down.

Do you think there are circumstances when books should be removed from school libraries, and if so, what kind of books should be removed?  

No, I do not believe that books should be banned from school libraries. Books should be age-appropriate, and nonfiction books should accurately reflect historical events.

The following candidates did not respond

  • Andre R. Griggs, Jr.
  • Linda Warren

This article was originally published on CNSMaryland.org and is republished with permission.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

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