Sandy Vaughns of Landover came in third place during the 2010 primary election for Prince George’s County school board, and now he is making a second attempt to realize his goals of seeing county school funding funneled directly into classroom materials and building more partnerships with local businesses.
Vaughns, a citizen services specialist for the Prince George's County government, is running for the District 4 school board seat currently held by Patricia Eubanks, who is seeking re-election.
Other candidates seeking the seat in the April 3 primary are Joseph Kitchen, Dennis Smith and Micah Watson.
Vaughns said his inspiration for wanting to see education flourish in Prince George's County began in the 1970s when his father, Sylvester Vaughns, fought to desegregate Prince George's County public schools, which led to busing students to integrate school districts.
"I grew up in the public school system," said Vaughns, who attended Matthew Henson Elementary, Kenmoor Middle and Parkdale High schools. "I came up through the public school system in Prince George's County. When every kid goes across that stage, they should go everywhere in life they want to be."
Vaughns said that if elected he will examine where school funding is going and advocate on behalf of teachers that money is earmarked to go into more classroom instructional materials, teacher salaries, and student supplies such as backpacks, pens and pencils.
Vaughns also said his connections to the county as a citizen services specialist will help him link businesses with neighborhood schools to give donations.
As a citizen services specialist, Vaughns is a liaison between the office of the county executive and the community, addressing residents’ complaints and attending community days and festivals.
"We're asking these businesses go back and help the kids in their district," Vaughns said.
Sharon Taylor, a Prince George's County Office of the Sheriff spokeswoman, has known Vaughns for seven years.
When she worked as a spokeswoman for Prince George's County police, Taylor said she saw Vaughns as someone who had built relationships with every agency when it came to resolving community standards issues.
"If people had concerns that intersected with the police department, he knew he could reach out to the police department about cars, parking issues, trash issues or dogs that were illegal for people to have," Taylor said. "If people had suspicions of illegal activity, he would of course reach out to us."
Taylor described Vaughns as a "consensus-builder" and "problem-solver" who has always had an interest in the success of county youths.
"I think he's not someone who's interested in bashing our school system," Taylor said. "All systems can be righted and corrected, and I think that he's the kind of person that would be able to do the business of looking at ways we can operate more efficiently and looking at ways of saving money."
Fairmount Heights Councilwoman Nancy Dixon Saxon, who has known Vaughns for 20 years, said he would be a grassroots advocate for low-income, high-minority areas and smaller municipalities, and would fight for classroom resources for schools in those districts.
"I think Sandy Vaughns would be perfect because he's somebody who knows the community, someone who's worked in the community, somebody who knows their needs," Dixon Saxon said.