The Prince George’s County school system needs to develop an internship program that would allow high school students to learn from local small business owners, said one candidate for the school board’s District 5 seat.
“We want programs that give students the best fighting chance to succeed inside and outside the classroom,” said Sherine Taylor, a 34-year-old Upper Marlboro resident making her first run for the school board.
“We need to start now to equip our students to run for County Council, school board.”
Taylor, a senior human resources specialist who unsuccesfully ran for the District 6 seat on the County Council in last fall’s special election, said she also would make teacher retention and funding computer labs, new textbooks and tutoring sessions her priorities, if elected.
School board chairwoman Verjeana M. Jacobs is seeking re-election to the District 5 seat. Taylor will face Jacobs and three others in an April 3 primary, and the top two candidates will advance to November’s general election.
“We need to look to bring teachers back to Prince George’s County [by] doing a study of why our quality teachers are leaving,” said Taylor, adding that the culture and pay both play a key role in keeping teachers within a school system.
After-school activities, such as tutoring sessions or the internship program, would keep students occupied and would help to prepare them for real-world careers, Taylor said. And opportunities with computer labs would improve students research skills, she said.
Taylor praised the dedication of those currently involved with the school system but said some funds in the $1.6 billion operating budget could be reallocated to support her priorities.
Asha Pinkney Weithers, who worked with Taylor for several years at General Dynamics in Fairfax, Va., said Taylor is innovative when it comes to finding solutions and making her ideas happen.
Taylor fosters collaboration on projects, Weithers said, and encouraged coworkers to continue their education.
“Education is priceless — that is always her philosophy,” said Weithers, who lives in Washington, D.C.
Taylor also mentored 14- to 18-year-old students interested in entrepreneurship through an internship program at the Largo-based Haven Realty Centers in 2009 and 2010, said Sherette Gordon, who owns the centers.
“She saw that there is a need, that she had some skill sets that she could apply to help these young people,” Gordon said.
The two campaigned together for Trevor Otts, who ran unsuccessfully in 2010 for the District 8 seat on the County Council, Gordon said. Taylor coordinated youth volunteers and worked effectively with volunteers from all backgrounds.
“She’s always shown an interest in the development of our community and our school system,” Gordon said. “And she works well with young people.”