Local Advocate Challenges Kessler for Seat on St. Mary's BoE

By Andrea Shiell, County Times

HOLLYWOOD, Md. (Oct. 16, 2008)—Marilyn Crosby pulled out a note card with a long list of community events and destinations where she has campaigned so far, but she said she has a long way to go before the election. “I’ve been to Spring Fest, I’ve been to concerts, I’ve been to church dinners,” she said, adding that she is trying to get in as much face-time with local residents as possible.

As the only challenger to any seat on the Board of Education this year, Crosby said she feels it is a fight she will win, and she pointed first to her involvement with the Board of Education over the years. “When I would see problems, I would start working on it for the children,” she said, “and I would go to the board meetings.”

Crosby is a regular fixture at board meetings, and she says her attendance is evidence of her dedication to the educational system, for which she has worked her entire life. She was a teacher for 24 years, serving first in Prince George’s County, and then moving to St. Mary’s County to teach at Chopticon High School in 1970. She also taught at Leonard Hall, Green Holly, and Piney Point, and served as a member of several committees serving the school system, including the School Improvement Committee, the Budget Advisory Committee, and the Citizens’ Advisory Committee for Special Education, among others. “I’ve been on so many committees I can’t even remember them all,” she said, laughing.

She said that her accomplishments ranged from being nominated for the Agnes Meyer teaching award and sponsoring the Piney Point Computer Club, to lowering class sizes and advising the Board of Education on the budget. “I think another accomplishment is that I’m still advocating for children by writing letters,” she said, adding that she has written over 100 letters to various publications about educational issues.

Crosby said that her involvement with the Board of Education led her to want a few things changed. “From being at almost every meeting, I would like to see more critical review of important issues,” she said, explaining that she did not feel that board members devoted enough time to exhaustive discussion of policy. “If you’re going to have an important issue…there should be a lot of public discussion about it, and then it should be tabled for a couple of weeks,” she said, adding that extra time should be allotted so that board members could discuss all options before voting.

Crosby said that her main goals if elected would be to implement universal pre-Kindergarten programs, and enhance after school programs. “Pre-K will be law in 2014, but I think we need to do it before then,” she said, adding that she would also like to see a clustered bus route to provide better transportation for after-school programs.

Crosby said also that she would like to see the STEM program expanded. “There are a lot of smart kids in our school system that aren’t going into the STEM program,” she said, “you ought to have a pathway that will prepare all capable students for STEM at CSM.”

As a candidate, Crosby said she had debated with herself before deciding to run against Kessler, who she conceded had done well in his position, but she also said she wanted to kick her advocacy up a notch nevertheless. “I’m me. I have a lot of integrity and a lot of humor within me, and I love the children, and that’s why I’m doing this,” she said.

Those interested in learning more about Marilyn Crosby’s campaign can visit her website at www.marilyncrosbychildrenfirst.com.

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