By Mark F. Gray, Special to the AFRO, [email protected]
Prince George’s County residents made it clear they want to stay the course at the top of their embattled public school system.
The advocacy for Dr. Monica E. Goldson was loud and clear during Monday’s community meeting at Flowers High School that allowed the public its chance for input in the process of selecting the new fulltime Prince George’s Public Schools Chief Executive Officer (CEO). During the two hour forum, County residents advocated for a CEO who is vested in the area for more than just a great salary, and will be transparent when operating the state’s second largest school system.
County Executive Angela Alsobrooks was joined on stage by members of the H.Y.A. search firm, who will select three candidates to be considered by her once the national search is completed. By law, an independent search must be solicited to find candidates from around the country before the County Executive makes the ultimate selection.
“You can save a lot of time, some finances, a lot of headaches and eradicate unnecessary headaches by simply moving forward with the selection of [Dr.] Monica Golson as permanent CEO of the [PGPCS],” said Imogene Robinson, a local business owner and parent of a student at Henry A. Wise High School in Upper Marlboro.
Goldson was supported by educators and businesspeople who cited her ties as a product of the County, having been a principal, and as a resident of the County who has a child currently being educated in the school system as reasons she is the best equipped to make the reforms needed to regain the trust in the system.
“Dr. Goldson loves our children and is the most qualified candidate to be [CEO] of the school system,” said Delores Milhouse, parent of another student in the system. “She has shown over the last year to be the best person to move [PGPCS] from good to great.”
Her advocates referred to Goldson as a “homegrown powerhouse” and a “franchise player” who has impressed them with her ability to unify and lead a fractured system that has struggled through an absence of transparency during the turbulent tenure of her predecessor Dr. Kevin Maxwell, who was forced to resign last July, has also impressed the community at large.
“Without hesitation she has taken on this leadership role through these trying times,” said Rodney Henderson. “Her dedication to the community is unparalleled and she’s seen every aspect of Prince George County inside and out.”
The most riveting moments of the forum were delivered by the presentation of Rachel N. West, who is the mother of a special needs child who can’t get the necessary therapy to improve his verbal communications skills in the County. Her four-year-old son Marcus must travel into Howard County or Anne Arundel County for therapy because the school system lacks the program to help him overcome his challenge to verbally communicate in order start school by next fall.
“Where is the money from the casinos that was supposed to go to education to help fund programs that would help my son,” West tearfully asked near the end of her presentation.
That moment prompted Alsobrooks to summon a staff member to secure her information with a promise to discuss the measure in detail.
However, West shared her family’s frustration with PGCPS’s inability to accommodate special needs children with the AFRO before leaving the forum and feels the new CEO has to be mindful.
“When you don’t have these services in your community it puts an enormous strain on the family,” said West. “We pay a lot in property taxes and when two people are in the household are working we shouldn’t have to leave our county to get the help we need.”