Newly appointed Prince George’s County School Board Chair Segun Eubanks said his first task is to integrate a highly qualified superintendent and a reconstituted school board and to develop a new agenda geared towards student achievement and parental and community involvement.
In an interview with the AFRO, Eubanks, who was appointed by Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III on June 1, said, “Education is one of the key factors for economic justice for poor people and people of color.”
Eubanks, a Bowie resident, has spent most of his 30-year professional career as a public education advocate, mostly for urban, high-needs schools. Eubanks was a director of teacher quality for the National Education Association, the nation’s best known education advocacy organization. The two youngest of Eubanks’ four children are Prince George’s County Public School students.
His elevation to the board is part of Baker’s implementation of a bill signed in April by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley giving the county executive the power, as of June 1, to appoint a chair and three members to the board of education. The bill gives the county executive and county council more control of school system operations.
“Dr. Eubanks brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the board that will serve the children and families of this county well,” Baker said in a statement.
Eubanks replaced former board chairwoman Verjeana Jacobs, who was elected to the position in 2006.
After only a few days in his position, Eubanks is already getting high marks for being responsive. He said he wants to reshape the perception of the Prince George’s County Public Schools system, which may help to curb the flight of the offspring of the middle-class to private schools or even out of the county. He said while there are challenges the school system needs to overcome, those challenges should not outweigh their triumphs.
“Prince George’s has a good school system and not enough people appreciate just how good of a school system it is,” he said crediting talented educators and students eager to learn.
“On the flipside, we’re good, but not good enough,” he said.
Eubanks also mentioned the uniqueness of the school system, which he said has similarities to both the Baltimore and Montgomery county school systems.
“We’re the most affluent Black community in the nation,” said Eubanks. “We have many of the challenges of urban Baltimore and the more affluent Montgomery County, so we need to spend significantly more resources catering to our low income community.”
Eubanks said there has to be more coordination between the different agencies in the county including healthcare, education and public safety.