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David Murray to run uncontested in Prince George's Board of Education race

David Murray
David Murray (Submitted photo)

In his third race for the Prince George's County school board, David Murray, 24, is the uncontested candidate this year for the open District 1 seat on the Prince George's County Board of Education.

A 2014 graduate of University of Maryland Baltimore County, the Bowie resident ran for a board seat in 2010 against then-incumbent Rosalind Johnson and was defeated by less than 1,000 votes. In October 2012, Johnson was living outside her district – a violation of Maryland law – and resigned from the board.

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Murray ran a second time in 2012 against Zabrina Epps, trailing 456 votes shy of his opponent. Epps is not running for re-election this year.

Murray's opponent, Raul Jurado, a retired Army major, withdrew from this year's race in September after moving to Virginia. However, Jurado's name will appear on the ballot.

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Murray said he is eager to begin serving Prince George's County Public Schools and strengthening ties between the education system and community.

"I've been getting more and more known," said Murray, an investment consultant at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Institutional Investment & Fiduciary Services in Washington, D.C. "People have seen me out in the community. I think all that hard work from previous races is just starting to pay off."

Students from Dwight Eisenhower Middle School in Laurel will be venturing to the JA Finance Park in Landover on Oct. 13 to participate in the junior achievement finance park program. During the visit students will participate in a four-hour experimental learning program by working on tablet computers and learning about the importance of income; saving, investing and risk management; debit and credit; and budget.

Murray first shared his platform — to enhance student achievement by introducing financial literacy into the classroom and establish trusting relationships with teachers, parents and students — six years ago. As the District 1 board member, Murray said he will continue to promote these objectives by reinforcing his own experiences as a Prince George's County student.

His journey from a first-grader in student government to an intern with former county Councilman Tom Dernoga has enlightened his plans for the school system, he said.

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"Prince George's County Public Schools afforded me a ton of opportunities and molded me into the person that I am today," Murray said. "We need to equip our students with basic financial knowledge, so that when they go into the real world, they're able to make smart decisions about loans and credit cards and avoid debt. No matter what profession you go into, those skills will be valuable."

Specialty programs in schools open up more possibilities for students, Murray said, including science and technology, language immersion or vocational programs. Students can shape their passions around the programs and further explore that interest in the college setting, he said.

In Cathy Collins' class at Laurel Elementary School, kindergartens learn vocabulary not reading a book or filling out worksheets, but by dancing and singing, and by writing creatively and drawing pictures. Learning core subject matter through the arts — through music, visual arts, dancing and acting — has become common practice at Laurel Elementary this year; the school joined Prince George's County school system's arts integration program in the fall.

Murray said his goals begin with restoring public trust in Prince George's County schools. With the school system's $2 billion budget for fiscal year 2017, Murray said he plans to put finances toward the best possible use, while introducing partnerships with surrounding businesses and organizations to bring in additional dollars.

"I'm also really looking forward to making the school system work for our community, whether that's connecting someone with the right person, getting students the services they need or attending a PTA meeting," Murray said. "Part of being a school board member is that you get tons of emails and calls from parents, teachers and principals who need to get things done. I'm going to make sure that I'm accessible and help people get the best education for their children."

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