With only two of the seven county Board of Education seats on the ballot this year, three candidates have filed so far to replace outgoing incumbents Chao Wu and Vicky Cutroneo.
Neither Wu or Cutroneo is running for reelection. Wu, of Clarksville, has filed to run as a Democrat for a Maryland State Delegate seat in District 13.
School board members are elected to four-year terms on a staggered basis in even-numbered years.
Candidates have until March 22 to file for candidacy. The primary election is set for June 28 and the general election is set for Nov. 8.
Here’s a look at the candidates running for the Howard County Board of Education:
Adler, 65, of Clarksville, is a realtor with Maryland Real Estate Network and has lived in Howard County for three decades.
As a mother of two sons who attended Howard County public schools and grandmother of two students now in county public schools, Adler said she wants to help the school system refocus on teaching students basic core subjects rather than social-emotional learning. She mentioned issues such as the importance of keeping schools open amid the coronavirus pandemic and keeping school resource officers in schools. She also wants to prioritize allowing students to stay in schools in their own neighborhoods with family, friends and support systems.
If elected, she said she would urge educators to continue to focus on teaching academics and leave parents to teach values to their children.
“I do think that we just need to work at having a respectful conversation, be able to work out differences respectfully and work together to just get our arms around educating the students, rather than politicizing the whole system,” Adler said.
Chen, 45, of North Laurel, has lived in Howard County for more than a decade. He works as a structural engineer and earned bachelors and masters degrees from Hefei University of Technology in China and a doctorate in applied mechanics from the University of Virginia.
Chen currently serves on the Board of Education Operating Budget Review Committee and Social Study Advisory Committee and previously served on the School Calendar Committee for two years and the Science Advisory Committee for one year. He said he wants to focus on matters such as committing to the quality of education, investing in school infrastructure, prioritizing students’ physical and social-emotional well-being and promoting the strength of diversity.
Chen’s three children attend Reservoir High School, Hammond Middle School and Hammond Elementary School. He said he hopes to help provide better quality public education for everyone.
“I want to contribute and make sure that the schools [are] still doing well and all the kids can benefit from that,” he said.
Newberger, 47, of Columbia, has lived in Howard County for nine years.
He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis and went on to serve in the Navy for seven years. According to his Linkedin page, he is government regions demand manager, worldwide public sector for Amazon Web Services.
A husband and father of two children in the county’s public schools, he said he is running to help ensure that public education remains the crown jewel of the county.
Newberger said some of the priorities of his campaign are rebuilding and recovering from the pandemic’s impact by offering a trauma-informed, culturally competent environment in schools where children can learn and access mental health care. He wants to ensure that all the county’s children get the opportunities they need to be successful.
Newberger said he hopes the school system can continue to support all families.
“Every student has their own challenges and it’s easy for us to let students suffer in silence,” he said. “We need to make sure that every child, every student, every family, sincerely experiences the wonderful schools that we have.”