To say that Prince George’s County Council District 6 candidate Esther Hankerson (D) talking about education would be playing to her strengths is an understatement.
Hankerson of Upper Marlboro is a retired teacher who worked in District of Columbia Public Schools and served as vice president of the Washington Teachers’ Union.
Although she never worked in Prince George’s County schools, Hankerson said that if elected, she would work with Prince George’s teachers in their classrooms to find out what they need to succeed and improve education in the county.
“We need to support those who are actually doing the work at the local schools,” said Hankerson, who declined to provide her age. “... I’d figure out how I can influence my colleagues to support what the teachers feel they need, not what [the council] feels they need.”
Hankerson, who is running in the primary Sept. 20 to fill the seat left vacant by former Councilwoman Leslie E. Johnson, who left office after pleading guilty to corruption charges, decided to run in part because of what she called “lagging” schools in the county, and in part because she feels her experience in education and union mediations would make her a strong representative of the district.
“I work well with people, and I would be able to influence my colleagues, because you need to be able to work together to accomplish anything,” she said. “One person can’t do it on their own, but one person can be an initiator, and that’s what I plan to be.”
Hankerson said she also is concerned about issues such as job creation and helping residents dealing with foreclosures and “underwater” mortgages, but that she would wait until in office to come up with specific initiatives, because it’s better to get into office and see what is feasible rather than make promises based on impressions that may not be entirely accurate.
Anita Corley of Brentwood said she knew Hankerson since they began working together in D.C. public schools in the early 1990s, a relationship that culminated in Corley being on her slate when Hankerson was elected vice president of the teachers’ union. Corley said the dedication to others that she showed during her teaching career would transition seamlessly into the position of an elected representative.
“I think she would make positive changes to improve the lives of those in the community, the same way she did and tried to do in [D.C. public schools],” Corley said. “She’s always been that way with people, always willing to help other people.”
Candidate’s name: Esther Hankerson
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Place of residence: Upper Marlboro
How long lived in county: 42 years
Place of birth: Perry, Fla.
Current occupation: retired
Education: Bachelor of Science from Florida A&M University; Master of Arts from University of District of Columbia
Community associations: vice president of Kettering Community Association
Professional associations: member of the Network of Church Administrators
Family: Married; three children, two grandchildren
Campaign office address and telephone: P.O. Box 4531, Upper Marlboro, MD; 202-699-0012
Candidate’s web site: Under construction