The recently elected school board representative in our area Peggy Higgins took her time to share some her thoughts on her new job and her vision to address the challenges the school system is facing. Please see the complete interview below.
1) What was your reaction after you first learned the news of your election victory?
My first reaction when I learned I had been elected was a sense of purpose. I am truly humbled by the number of people who supported, worked and voted for me. It is an honor to represent my community.
2) What are the challenges you are facing in your new job as the school board representative ?
As a board member of six weeks, the current challenges have mostly to do with forming relationships with other Board members and school superintendent Dr. Hite and his staff as well as learning the structure and process of resolving parent concerns. And then obviously the biggest challenge all of us are facing is how to assure the continuation of academic rigor for our children despite the very real budget constraints.
3) How will your approach in addressing challenges in Prince George’s schools in our area be different from previous approaches?
Like each of my Board colleagues, I bring my own unique experiences to Board deliberations and discussions. My background both as a social worker and as a municipal department head is a good mix of practical experience working on behalf of children and families and an understanding of how bureaucracies operate. I believe this practical experience contributes positively in our Board deliberations.
4) Many appreciate your work as the Director of College Park Youth and Family Services (YFS). Do you plan to continue working with YFS?
The School Board position is not a full-time paid position. Each Board member receives $18,000 minus taxes of approximately $6,000, leaving an annual income of $12,000 a year. It always has been my plan to continue my work for College Park. I love my job as the City’s Youth, Family and Seniors Services Director and have 21 years experience in this position. Thus I am very aware of the ebb and flow of those duties which is helpful as I take on Board responsibilities. I have committed to being very busy these next four years and accept that responsibility. As I anticipated, it is my personal time that has disappeared.