The two newest members of the Charles County Board of Education have several more weeks to observe and learn before taking their seats and bringing forth their ideas for education.
Patricia Bowie and Michael Lukas will fill the seats of current members Collins A. Bailey and Charles E. Carrington as the two did not seek re-election. The remaining five incumbents Roberta S. Wise, Jennifer S. Abell, Donald M. Wade, Pamela A. Pedersen and Maura H. Cook won back their seats.
The newly elected seven-member board, school spokeswoman Katie O'Malley Simpson said, will be sworn in Dec. 20 at North Point High School and its first meeting as a new board will be Jan. 11.
Both Lukas and Bowie said they were humbled to be elected from the 14-candidate pool of what Bowie described as "talented candidates to choose from."
When answering questions by Maryland Independent staff early in the campaign process, Bowie said when she is a board member she would like to see it "build rapport between the board, elected county officials and surrounding partners and eliminate inefficient policies, practices and outdated systems that would hinder our progress." One outdated system she spoke of was the open classrooms at Eva Turner Elementary School.
Before Bowie can put any of her ideas on the table, she said after the election, the No. 1 priority is learning her job as a board member. She said she is looking forward to meeting the newly elected Charles County commissioners to "make sure we get off on the right foot."
Lukas also emphasized the need to get acquainted with his role as a board member and learning the ropes before jumping in with his ideas.
Lukas' answer to the Independent when asked about one thing he would like to see accomplished was opening the first charter school in Charles County.
Lukas also spoke of taking an analytical approach to the school budget and working on teacher retention.
Lukas said it would be a few months into working with fellow board members and well after he was fully acquainted with the position before he is able to look at things from a "constructive standpoint" and be able to provide "positive input."
"You've got to walk before you can run," he said.
Like Bowie, Lukas said he looked forward to working with a new set of commissioners and is "certainly willing to entertain any meeting with the commissioners in an open environment, just so we're all starting off on solid ground."
Lukas and Bowie spoke of looking forward to working with the incumbents and being prepared to take on tasks as a team.
Lukas said the newly elected board of education was a diverse group working toward the same goal of doing what is right for students.
"Everyone has something to contribute," Bowie said of the board's individual strengths.
"It's all about trying to get things done," she said.
School board race
Roberta Wise 21,881 9.85%
Jennifer Abell 21,203 9.55%
Maura Cook 19,485 8.77%
Pamela Pedersen 19,293 8.69%
Donald Wade 19,112 8.60%
Patricia Bowie 17,070 7.69%
Michael Lukas 17,043 7.67%
Barbara Cooksey-Feeney 15,843 7.13%
Michael Wilson 14,360 6.47%
Michael Green 13,737 6.18%
Jason Henry Sr. 12,657 5.70%
Sue Richards 12,509 5.63%%
Narain Mathur 8,882 4.0%
Paul Donato 8,747 3.94%
Source: Charles County Board of Elections