The Howard County Council unanimously voted Monday to approve Robyn C. Scates as the District 1 representative on the county’s Board of Education.
“I’m thankful to the county executive for putting me forward as a nominee for the role,” Scates said. “I really appreciate everybody’s support with this. I’m very humbled.”
Scates, of Elkridge, was one of 14 applicants considered for the position by Howard County Executive Calvin Ball after the Feb. 1 resignation of Christina Delmont-Small, who vacated her seat to pursue a full-time education policy position.
Ball officially nominated Scates on Feb. 23 and praised her diverse professional background.
“As an attorney, as someone who has experience in higher [education] and as a longtime resident of Elkridge, she brings a wealth of experience to ensure that our Board of Education has not only the geographic diversity but also the experience to help our kids become more college and career ready,” Ball said.
Howard school board administrator April Harrison said Scates will be sworn in at the board’s next meeting April 13. Scates will fill the remainder of Delmont-Small’s term, which expires in December 2024. Howard school board members are paid $16,000 annually.
In addition to running her law practice of Scates Legal Group, LLC, Scates serves as a professor and academic adviser at her alma mater, Morgan State University in Baltimore. She has resided in Elkridge since 2007 and her two sons graduated from Howard High School.
Scates has held a number of education-related positions, including executive director of the Maryland Legal Services Program, Maryland Department of Human Services, where she helped represent vulnerable youth and adults in the state; leadership positions with the College Summit, Inc., a nonprofit working to increase college enrollment; and as a behavior guidance counselor for the Baltimore City Public School System.
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She earned a bachelor’s degree from Morgan State and a Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore School of Law.
“In my career I’ve had the opportunity to work and fight and understand the needs of many, many young people in our communities,” Scates said. “Everybody deserves an opportunity for an education because I believe that that is the key to everything.”
Since her nomination, Scates said she has met with County Council members, school board members and constituents, followed board meetings and reviewed a trove of documents, including the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future and the school system’s $1.14 billion fiscal 2024 operating budget request.
While acknowledging she’ll be playing catch-up with her fellow board members, Scates said she is eager to dive into policy and help ensure the school system has sufficient funds to cover a range of new Blueprint initiatives, such as higher teacher salaries and expanded prekindergarten services.
“I just want everyone to know that my heart is in it, my mind is in it and my work is in it,” Scates said.
At a County Council legislative hearing on March 20, friends and colleagues spoke to Scates’ integrity and urged the council to confirm her as a member of the board.
“[Robyn] is kind, intelligent, imaginative — she’s not going to stay in a box,” said Monica Ford-Litte, who said she has known Scates for 45 years. “I flew in from Atlanta just to speak because that’s who she is. She’s going to draw that kind of energy and attention and she’s going to always, always do her very best.”