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Mayor names 4 to school board

(Published November 20, 2000)

D.C. Public Schools Superintendent Paul L. Vance, far right at podium, greets members of the new school board and Mayor Anthony A. Williams at a press conference Nov. 15 during which the mayor named his four appointees to the nine-member board. The board, with a combination of elected and appointed members, was created when voters narrowly approved an amendment to the city's home rule charter last June. The board assumes authority over the public schools in January.

D.C. voters have made their choices, the mayor has made his appointments.

Now it remains up to D.C. City Council to confirm or reject the mayor’s appointees to the D.C. Board of Education toward finalizing the nine people who will serve on the newly constituted "hybrid" school board.

The new partially appointed and partially elected board is scheduled to take office Jan. 2, replacing an all-elected school board that voters narrowly replaced at a special election last summer.

There will be other major differences besides the new makeup of the school board when January rolls around.

The financial control board has said it will return full authority over D.C. Public Schools to this new Board of Education.

And even though the mayor lacks any substantial legal authority over the schools, Mayor Anthony A. Williams has made clear since last January that he expects to exercise major influence over how the public schools are run.

The mayor made his four appointments to the school board Nov. 14 by naming educators Laura Gardner, Charles R. Lawrence III, Roger Wilkins and federal buildings administrator Robert Peck to the board. Their appointments require council confirmation.

In addition to his appointees, two of the five elected members of the board were endorsed by the mayor — school board president Peggy Cooper Cafritz and District I member Julie Mikuta.

Also elected by voters on Nov. 7 were current Ward 4 school board member Dwight Singleton to represent District II, Capitol Hill Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Tommy Wells to represent District III and current Ward 8 school board member William Lockridge to represent District IV.

Members of the new school board will continue to receive the same compensation — $15,000 per year — that the current school board members receive.

The mayor said he selected his four appointees from among 88 applicants for the positions. A 24-member advisory committee, chaired by Marilyn T. Brown of the Cathedral Scholars Program, screened the candidates and selected 69 to be interviewed as part of the selection process.

Selected by the mayor were

•Laura Gardner, a professor of student development at Montgomery College who lives in Hillcrest and is the parent of a D.C. Public School graduate.

•Charles R. Lawrence III, a professor of law at Georgetown University who serves on the Local School Restructuring Team at Shepherd Elementary School, where he has two children in pre-kindergarten and first grade.

•Robert Peck, the commissioner of the Public Building Service of the U.S. general Services Administration. Peck, who lives in Chevy Chase D.C., has two children who attend Lafayette Elementary School.

•Roger Wilkins, a civil rights activist, National Public Radio commentator and former assistant U.S. Attorney General who teaches history and American culture at George Mason University. Wilkins has three children and lives in Southwest.

Copyright © 2001 The Common Denominator