Take Action AAC and Progressive Maryland endorse the following candidates for the AAC Board of Education in Districts 4, 5, and 7:
District 4: Melissa Ellis
Melissa Ellis seeks to bring a holistic view to the Board of Education, noting that children enter schools as 'a whole person,' bringing their family and broader community experiences with them. The reality is that the school's work can not end at classroom instruction, but must include providing a safe and healthy environment where each child can develop as an individual. Ellis recommends growing greater partnerships between schools, community organizations, and businesses, perhaps creating long lasting mentorship programs or a buddy system that connects younger and older students. Before this vision can become reality, Ellis knows that many fundamental problems need to be resolved. These include reducing class sizes, implementing retention strategies to keep our most effective teachers, and hiring enough guidance counselors and mental health professionals to bring caseloads down to recommended sizes. Ellis' qu
Ellis has the combination of experiences and skills needed to bring about this multi-faceted vision. She holds a degree in psychology, focusing on early childhood development and education; used the Montessori Method with her own children before they entered public schools; and has professional experience as a Human Resources manager in an education services company.
District 5: Dana Schallheim
More than 30 years after Dana Schallheim began advocating for change, she turned her focus to Anne Arundel County's Public School System. Schallheim's decision to file as a District 5 candidate for the Board of Education grew from serving on the Superintendent's Parent Involvement Advisory Council and volunteering in her daughter's elementary school, as well as her life-long dedication to improving other's lives. Schallheim's involvement from the grassroots to the superintendent level, her successful work on a bill in the General Assembly allowing county boards of education more control over their school year schedule, and her MBA and professional experiences are impressive. Schallheim's views emphasize proactivity as well as the creation or reinforcement of policies and practices to ensure consistency.
In addition, Schallheim's alignment with progressive values resonated with Take Action AAC. She is the only candidate for the Board of Education who is Small Money Certified by Represent Maryland. And, she pledged not to accept funds from for-profit corporations or corporate PACs, developers, lobbyists, and others where a conflict could be perceived.
District 7: Laticia Hicks
Laticia Hicks was spurred to run for office as the District 7 Board of Education because o the concerns held by most parents and candidates - overcrowding, class sizes, teacher retention, equitable services, and bullying and harassment. What sets her apart is her career, her education, and her focus on proactive, community-based solutions to long-standing problems. Hicks has taught male and female inmates in the Bureau of Prisons for more than 16 years and now serves as a curriculum specialist. She also holds Master of Public Administration and Master of Arts in Education degrees and a certificate in HR Policy and Management.
Hicks has dealt with the "preschool to prison" pipeline, the disproportionate tendency of minors and young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds to become incarcerated. Instead of receiving the additional educational, counseling, and other support services they need for success, these students are pushed out of school. Often, Hicks deals with them in prison where every inmate without a high school diploma must attend classes.