2022 Candidate Profile: Julie Yang for District 3 School Board

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD – Julie Yang is running in the Nov. 8 general election for the District 3 seat on the Montgomery County School Board.

Yang is a former data analyst and academic and professional advisor for Montgomery County Public Schools. She also spent seven years as a teacher.

In the July primary, Yang was the top voter for the District 3 school board seat. On November 8, she ran against Scott Joftus, who received the second-most votes in the primary.

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The Montgomery County School Board consists of five members who must reside in a district, two at-large members who may reside anywhere in the county, and one student member. The five district members, like the at-large members, are elected countywide.

Early voting will run from October 27 to November 3. County early voting centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day.

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Patch asked each of the Montgomery County School Board nominees to answer the same questions. Here are Yang’s responses:

Last name: Julie Yang

Campaign website: www.julieyang.org

Age (at polling day): 52

town of residence: Potomac

Family: Husband: Wen Lee, doctor. 2 children – Benjamin Lee (Freshman, Vanderbilt University), Isabella Yang (Senior, Washington University in St. Louis)

Education:

M. Ed, Primary Education

Certification: College Admissions Specialist, American School Counselor Association

The most pressing issue facing schools in Montgomery County is staff shortages and staff morale, and that is what I intend to do about it.

It will take more than usual to alleviate staffing shortages and morale issues. Here are my projects:

We should first address the workforce drain that supports our MCPS students. Teachers have long expressed their desire to be respected as true partners in our education system. We need to foster a culture of openness. We need to involve our staff members in the conversation early in the decision-making process, allowing suggestions, questions and comments to be addressed at all levels and in a timely manner.

Second, many seasoned employees suffer from burnout and leave the profession. Our staff support should not be limited to new teachers. A comprehensive plan that covers both new and seasoned teachers serves a long-term strategic goal for staff resources. The concerns are, but not limited to, acquisition, retention and training. We also need to review the existing MCPS Employee Assistance Program (EAP) – while it provides mental health support such as virtual counseling, we need to re-evaluate and re-evaluate whether EAP services are effectively addressing the challenges staff faces today. These programs must be staff-oriented, otherwise they run the risk of not achieving their stated objectives.

On a larger scale, the staff shortage is a national problem that requires a local solution. To alleviate staffing shortages, a long-term solution is to establish and expand relationships with community partners, to seek out potential new talent in communities that we have not previously tapped into. Over the past two years, I’ve worked with seven local nonprofits to sponsor large-scale community outreach events that have had positive results.

When it comes to the decline of teacher education programs, there are two potentially promising untapped resources: job sharing and career changes. It is worth exploring arrangements where teachers divide the day into morning and afternoon shifts at the elementary level, or only take on half the sessions at the secondary level. This model would not only solve classroom staff flexibility issues, it would also open up opportunities for professional service positions such as social workers, psychologists and therapists looking for part-time work in the system. school.

Currently, job sharing is allowed at MCPS; however, this is not an option in the hiring process as these professional services positions are advertised as full-time positions only.

Additionally, we need to tap into people who are looking for career transitions. We can explore collaborations with institutes of higher learning such as Shady Grove University or the University of Maryland to provide teaching certification for career changers. With tuition incentives and a built-in service component, it is possible to attract career changers with a background in science, technology, and the arts into the MCPS system. Hawaii has such a successful program that can serve as a model for us.

What are the main differences between you and the other candidate for this position?

I will be the voice of the people on the board. I plan to devote myself full time to the position and will be present in the community at all times. As a school system, MCPS has a superintendent (and significant central and local staff to carry out the mission and objectives of the BOE. Board oversight is crucial with a three billion budget and 23,000 employees.

All residents can vote for all school board members. Board members should therefore be the eyes and ears of the system; they must represent the will and the voice of the people. I will diligently review all school system proposals and reports and ensure the system is transparent and accountable to the public.

I focus on Montgomery County. I’m running for the county school board. I bring to the Board of Education nearly 20 years of experience as an educator, first as a teacher, then as a career and college counselor, and community leader for MCPS students in underrepresented groups. I have practical experiences in the direct and intimate service of students and parents within the public school system. A proud mother of two MCPS graduates, I have also led educational efforts outside of the system as a PTA leader and advocate for underrepresented populations. Building bridges and closing gaps for special education and minority students has been a key aspect of my community work. Due to my immigrant background and experiences learning English as a second language, I am well connected with students and families experiencing linguistic, cultural, and economic challenges in Montgomery County.

With my extensive experience working in elementary, middle, and high schools within MCPS, I understand the nuances of navigating the complex school system. I will bring to the Board my established relationships with the MCPS community, county government, nonprofit entities, advocates, and community groups, all of which are critical to improving the services and operations of our school system, to developing school policies, improving our school district budget and better meeting the needs of everyone involved in county public education.

Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform.

I also agree to the following:

  • Increase mental health support for our students by making the issue of mental health a standing item on the board and special populations committee agendas.
  • Expand future career and employment opportunities by connecting and exposing our students to diverse career paths.
  • Prepare students for the 21st century job market by expanding science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) learning and career and technology programs in schools.
  • Provide universal early childhood education to ensure our children are prepared and ready to learn in school.

How would you recommend mitigating any student learning loss during the COVID-19 pandemic?

  • We must harness all tools and means to help mitigate learning loss. In-person/online tutoring, Saturdays, summer schools, and the option of high school credit recovery are all necessary.
  • We need to make better use of school hours. Bring rigor and high expectations back to the classroom with personalized support.
  • Understand student backgrounds and experiences. Provide mental health support or comprehensive service to struggling students.

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as proof that you can handle this job?

I have extensive experience in improving prospects and creating new opportunities for all MCPS students and the MCPS community. Some of my accomplishments in this regard include:

  • As a college and career counselor, led initiatives such as the Career Seminar Series, College Nights, and the Opportunity Knocks job fair to support future student success in careers and education
  • As head of the PTA, successfully advocated for funding to bring English as a Second Language (ESL) lessons directly to Churchill High School.
  • As an advocate for special education, founded the Village Initiative, which served to connect special education families with nonprofits and school services.
  • Collaborate with minority groups, such as Latino, Asian, and African American Student Action Groups and Chambers of Commerce, to diversify the MCPS workforce, foster culturally sensitive education, and establish legislative programs on issues of minority education.

You can learn more about me by visiting JulieYang.org.

Why should voters trust you?

For decades, I have been a county resident, a teacher and public education counselor, a parent of MCPS children, and a volunteer for many education-related activities. I am Education through training and trade. Serving on the Board of Education will give me the opportunity to work on the many issues in MCPS that remain unresolved or can be improved. I have proven to be a bridge builder that connects communities and brings people together. I am known for being able to ask tough questions, disagree without being contradictory, generate innovative solutions and build consensus.

What else would you like voters to know about you and your duties?

I am the only candidate in the Board of Education District 3 race to have the endorsement of 24 elected officials at the state and local levels. In the primary, I won with 60% of the vote in a three-way race, which is over 84,000 votes.

RELATED: 2022 Montgomery County General Election: Candidate’s Guide, How to Vote


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