UPPER MARLBORO – For the second time this year a Prince George’s County Board of Education member announced they will not return next term.
Daniel Kaufman, appointed by County Executive Rushern Baker III in June 2013, announced at Thursday’s Board meeting that he will not seek reappointment and complete his term at the end of the month.
Kaufman made the decision earlier this month after “months of agonizing” over whether he should stay or not. He cited his “more than full time” job as executive vice president and head of Widmeyer Communications in Washington, D.C., and a desire to spend more time with his two young children as his reasons for leaving.
“I feel like we’ve made a lot of progress in the last couple years and we now have a strategic plan in place; we’ve got a plan for how to move forward and I’m really happy about our direction,” he said. “So all of those were really great reasons to continue on but I had one big reason to not and that’s really that I have, you know, a more than full time job in Washington, D.C. and so between that and the board work and then I have two young kids.”
Kaufman said he wanted to spend more time at home, less time away from his children and to “not come home late every night.”
“I knew it was going to be a lot of work. I didn’t know quite how long the meetings were going to go or how often we were going to meet, so that was a little bit surprising,” he said. “I can’t say I was blind or naive about it, but when you’re actually doing it, trying to live and get through it, on a week to week, day to day basis, it’s challenging.”
During the meeting Eubanks joked that he did not want to take part in Kaufman leaving, but said he was obligated to pay homage to his friend and colleague.
“Dan is one of America’s foremost communications experts and so his skill and knowledge and helping us to think about how we communicate with and engage the parents in our community has been really second to none,” Eubanks said. “And so on behalf of the Prince George’s County Board of Education and Prince George’s County Public Schools, we thank you for your dedication, for your hard work, for your ongoing commitment and I know it will not stop,”
Scott Peterson, a spokesman for Baker’s office, said in an email that Baker appreciates Kaufman’s work and that the soon-to-be former Board member will continue to provide advice to the county executive.
“Dr. Kaufman is (an) at-large Board member who brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective to the Board’s work. He made a significant contribution by being actively engaged in the new FY2016-2020 Strategic Plan, and he led an internal Board/CEO committee focused on improving communication between the Board and CEO’s office,” Peterson said. “He has used his extensive experience and skill in communications to enhance the Board’s and the school system’s communications internally and with the public. He was a critical thinker who encourages the administration to look at all angles and perspectives before voting on an issue.”
Kaufman said he hopes someone with more time will take his place on the Board, but also thinks the county executive should find someone like him.
“I’m hoping they can find someone, not exactly like me, but someone who also brings some good experience, both in the education realm and the business realm and hopefully knows what’s going on in Prince George’s County as well,” Kaufman said. “It’s just really a lot of work for anybody. Some people have more time than others but you know, my advice to anyone who is thinking about considering the board, whether it’s appointed or elected members, is to really think seriously about and understand what the obligations are.”
Kaufman said he intends to stay involved in the school system and would not rule out serving again in the future. For now, he plans to start a column with the American School Board Journal about the best communication practices for school board members with first one set to appear in the August issue. His last day on the Board will be June 30, 2015.