Wiseman’s Appointment Reduces Number of Blacks on Board of Education

Prince George’s County

by: Hamil R. Harris Special to the AFRO
/ (Photo by Hamil Harris) /
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Donna L. Wiseman, the former Dean of the School of Education at the University of Maryland, was sworn in on Aug. 9 to fill a vacancy on the Prince George’s County Board of Education.

In addition to Wiseman, who is White, Segue Eubanks was reappointed as the Board of Education chair.  The ceremony took place in the office of the Prince George’s County Board of Education, located in Upper Marlboro, Md.

Donna Wiseman and Segue Eubanks were sworn in on Aug. 9 to the Prince George’s County Board of Education. (Photo by Hamil Harris)

“I’m really honored, privilege and humbled to be part of the Prince George’s County School System,” Wiseman said during the ceremony. “The Board’s focus must be the students and their potential to develop. If I can help the Prince George’s School System move to the next level it would be worth it.”

Wiseman is filling the vacancy left by Beverly Anderson, a Black woman, who resigned on June 23 from the board amid charges that student grades were changed to increase high school graduation rates. With her addition, there will be seven Black and five non-Black members on the board.

“I sincerely hope that the board members make decisions based on the best interest of children,” Anderson told the AFRO. “I fought hard for four years for all the children of the county.” She said she questions whether Wiseman’s activity to establish a charter school on UMD is a conflict of interest with the county’s public school system.

In her resignation letter to County Executive Rushern Baker, Anderson said “I have communicated my concerns to your office on several occasions about the school system’s lack of a coherent educational plan replete with performance measures to move all of our children forward, particularly low performing students.”

Anderson said she is most proud that during her four years on the board she got her colleagues to appreciate the budget process.

In her letter Anderson said there was a “lack of a thoughtful budget to support the educational needs of all of our children, particularly low performing students. I did my best in addressing these issues, but in some cases, my best was not good enough,” Anderson said. “The barriers were too hard to penetrate.” Anderson also addressed education equity for children below the poverty line.

According to a 2016 fact sheet from the Prince George’s County Public Schools, the system enrolls about 128,937 students with 82,242 receiving free or reduced lunch.

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