Jim Adams

70, Ellicott City, retired auditor and accountant, three-time former candidate for District 9 seat in Maryland Senate

The focus of Jim Adams' campaign is simple: the student.

"That's the most important thing," he said. "I'd like to develop an individual that has a lifelong love of learning, with a critical mind, who is willing to be creative."

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Curriculum is the most important aspect in developing that student, Adams said, and teachers are also a component.

"We have to find the most excellent teachers," he said. "That's the most critical part, but excellence isn't quantifiable. It's subjective, not objective."

There's a need, Adams said, to get away from concentrating on test scores and focus more on the liberal arts. The system has to perform at a higher level, Adams said, in order to produce students who are capable of success in a globally competitive environment.

"Financial incentives should be used, as far as (teachers') own performance in class," Adams said. "And if we find schools in the county that aren't doing so well, we have to find people that might want to move to those schools, if we make it reasonable for them."

Adams supports meaningful community engagement and a more open board.

"When decisions are made, the board has to inform the parents, the residents, the community of those decisions. But more than that, they have to explain to the community why those decisions were made," he said.

In addressing student success, Adams said it was important to look at a micro level, on a one-on-one basis.

"There are limited resources, but one-on-one is influential," Adams said. "The kids want to know that you care about them. That's why projects like Black Student Achievement Program are good: It's one-on-one. It's about people.

"The system should be able to provide every student with one moment, a light bulb moment."

Corey Andrews

17, Elkridge, senior at Howard High School

As a student, Corey Andrews sees the problems in the school system day in and day out, and he wants to bring that perspective to the Board of Education.

One of the problems, Andrews said, is behavioral. Bad behavior and disrespect disrupt class time, he said, but instilling respect and responsibility earlier could help ease that problem.

"In high school and middle school, teachers talk about respect in every class, so it becomes a habit," Andrews said. "If students are misbehaving at the elementary level and we teach them about respect, by the time they grow up it's going to be in their mind, remembering those lessons that they were taught."

As a student in Elkridge, Andrews said he also sees the impact of overcrowding, such as packed classrooms and hallways, which can exacerbate behavioral issues. The board, he said, should be addressing over-capacity schools with more foresight.

"We're not planning far enough ahead when it comes to things like school construction, or looking far enough down the road for new school sites," he said.