Montgomery County Council appointee applicants bring diverse backgrounds -- Gazette.Net







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When Jeanette Dixon retired after 12 years as principal of Paint Branch High School in July, she was ready to relax and take it easy.

But after a few months off, she’s ready to serve again.

Dixon, 65, of Silver Spring, is one of four people who had applied by Monday to fill the District 5 council seat that will be vacated by Valerie Ervin on Friday.

The deadline to submit applications is Jan. 8, and the council plans to appoint someone to serve out the last 11 months of Ervin’s term by Jan. 31.

Ervin (D) of Silver Spring is stepping down to become executive director of the Working Families Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy organization based in New York City.

Dixon joins Arthur H. Jackson Jr. of Takoma Park, Harold McDougall of Silver Spring and Daniel Wilhelm of Colesville, according to county records.

Applicants are required to be residents of District 5 and registered Democrats.

Dixon served 30 years as a teacher and administrator with Montgomery County Public Schools, including 12 years as principal at Paint Branch.

She also served in various positions at Benjamin Banneker Middle School, Walter Johnson High School, Wheaton High School, Springbrook High School, While Oak Middle School and Parkland Junior High School.

She said she believes the chance to fill a seat on the council’s Education Committee that Ervin chairs would be a good opportunity to apply her knowledge and experience.

Jackson has served on Montgomery County’s Cable Compliance Commission and Taxi Cab Advisory Board, and as a councilman for Fairmount Heights in Prince George’s County, among other positions.

He said his civic work and knowledge of the county would allow him to “hit the ground running” if he were appointed to the council.

Although he has a Master’s of Business Administration degree from the University of Southern California, Jackson, 57, retired in 2010 as a captain after 15 years as a special police officer, a division of the District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Department.

His mother, father and sister have all been in police work, he said.

His police background led to an opportunity to serve on the Security and Logistics Committee for both of President Barack Obama’s inaugurations.

Jackson said his public service that left the biggest impact on him was the two terms on the Taxi Cab Advisory Board, dealing with issues such as discrimination among taxi passengers and transportation of disabled passengers.

McDougall has been a law professor at the Howard University School of Law since 2000, and also taught at Rutgers Law School, Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C., CUNY Law School at Queens College in Flushing, N.Y., and at Washington’s Catholic University School of Law.

He could not be reached for comment Monday.

In 1996-97, he worked as the national legislative director for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in the association’s Washington, D.C., office, according to a resume submitted to the county.

He’s written two books, including “Black Baltimore: A New Theory of Community,” which suggests new ways to approach the revitalization of civic culture.

He also founded a nonprofit organization that strives to teach “public citizenship” to middle and high school students, according to the resume.

Part of the program has been taught by Howard law students at Takoma Park Middle School since 2008.

Wilhelm, 68, works at the MITRE Corp. in Annapolis Junction, but said in his letter to the council he would resign that job if appointed to fill Ervin’s seat.

He’s been active in the community since 1979, and is now president of the Greater Colesville Citizens Association and a former president of the Montgomery County Civic Federation.

Wilhelm said he dedicates 15 to 20 hours a week to various organizations and civic work.

Otherwise, he enjoys gardening and working around his Colesville home.

He said he’d like to spend his time on the council dealing with issues such as transportation, growth policies in areas such as the White Oak region, infrastructure for the county’s schools and protecting the environment.

Wilhelm said he sees the county’s Bus Rapid Transit plan as a way to handle road congestion in the eastern part of the county where he lives.

“There’s a lot of sticky issues coming up,” he said.