Longest-serving member in PGCPS board is dethroned in election

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Verjeana Jacobs

The longest-serving member on the Prince George’s County school board with cases pending against her in both state and Federal court lost a primary challenge in Tuesday’s election, a defeat that ends her decade in public office and sends two other hopefuls from District 5 to the general election.

Jeana Jacobs, a lawyer from Mitchellville who was board president from 2007 to 2013 and whose poor leadership skills mixed up with corruption was  placed third in a four-candidate contest. Raaheela Ahmed, who first run as a student leader several years ago was the best this time. She does financial consulting for federal agencies and was making her second bid for the seat, and Cheryl Landis, a longtime school system employee and first-time board candidate.

Ahmed drew more than 9,600 votes, while Landis garnered more than 8,000 and Jacobs about 6,000, according to preliminary results. A fourth candidate, Robert Johnson, an educator from Bowie who is campus director of ITT Technical Institute in Springfield, Va., received about 2,650 votes. It appears the county citizenary united to remove Verjeana Jacobs in every way possible. A few people found or did find it confusing that Ms. Jacobs was calling herself “Jeana” after going as “Verjeana” for many years. It might have been a strategy to deceive voters.

The non-partisan primary campaign for school board touched on issues of class size reduction, teacher pay, budget priorities and parent engagement. Ahmed and Landis could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

Jacobs said in an interview that she was honored to have served the community as long as she did. “I’ve always had their backs and they’ve always had mine,” she told the Washington post.

She said she believed she had run afoul of the political establishment in Prince George’s for speaking her mind and taking an independent approach. She noted that County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) and other political leaders backed Landis in a string of campaign mailings and handouts. Landis is chair of the Democratic Central Committee in the county.

“Once again politics prevailed,” Jacobs said.

In a second board race in Prince George’s, for District 8, incumbent Edward Burroughs III, a director of business development from Temple Hills, will move on to the general election along with challenger Stephanie Hinton, a fifth-grade teacher from Temple Hills.

Burroughs, seeking a third term, led with more than 11,100 votes, followed by Hinton, with more than 4,700 votes. A third candidate, Carlton C. Carter, a school-turnaround consultant from Fort Washington, trailed with about 2,750 votes. In 2012, Mr. Carter was the principal at Ernest E. Just Middle School in Mitchellville before he fell out with Dr. William Hite leadership and forced to resign, according to a letter sent home to parents at the time.

Edward Burroughs said in an interview with Washington post on Wednesday that he was honored by the support from voters in the district. “I will continue to fight day-in and day-out to ensure that every student has a quality education,” he said.

Hinton, a first-time candidate, said she was still trying to absorb the results.

“I am just thrilled,” she said. “This is all very new to me. I’m excited the voters had the faith in me to send me the general election.”

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