Elkton grandfather files for school board
ELKTON — Evan Jones Jr., a grandfather of three and longtime county resident, has filed for school board, setting up a contested race in District 5.
Jones, 65, will face off against Diana Hawley for the District 5 seat, which is currently held by board president Dawn Branch, who is term-limited and cannot run again. School board seats are non-partisan and since only two people have filed for the District 5 seat, Jones and Hawley won’t have to compete in the primary but will instead face off in the November general election.
Jones has lived in Cecil County for more than 25 years and has three grandchildren in Cecil County Public Schools. Prior to retiring two years ago, Jones worked at a printing company in Delaware for 24 years in a variety of roles, most recently in quality control. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Montclair State University.
Jones’ run for school board started out as a bit of a joke among him and his grandchildren, with Jones telling them “wait until I’m on the school board, then things are going to change,” he said Wednesday. But upon further consideration, Jones realized that as a re- tiree, he does have the time to improve things and perhaps fix the “broken” system.
In particular, Jones wants to see a return to the basics, noting that when his grandchildren bring home their math homework, it looks nothing like the math he remembers.
“Back in the day, it was always reading, writing and arithmetic,” he said. “I think you need those three things to set a good foundation to carry on. Without a good foundation, a lot of kids fall through the cracks.”
On that same note, Jones said he isn’t a fan of the Common Core curriculum because he thinks it should be solely up to the local community on how to best educate its kids. Jones said he feels there’s too much interference from the federal and state government already.
In terms of school security, Jones said he thinks CCPS does a good job but that there is always more room for improvement. He’s also against an idea that’s been floated nationally of arming qualified teachers, saying it would cause more problems than it would solve.
Jones hasn’t been following the school budget process that closely this year but said he’d like to see some different spending priorities, noting he doesn’t agree with the recent decision to spend $2 million on a field house for Perryville High School. He would have instead liked to see that money go toward security upgrades or other improvements.
But in general, Jones wants to see a return to basics, which he said starts with talking to the people that are in county schools every day.
“Sometimes you have to go back to the ground level and talk to students and teachers and get their viewpoints on how they think things should be better,” he said.
The only other contested school board race is in District 3, where Conowingo Baptist Church Pastor Joshua McCord and Conowingo Elementary School PTO President Christie Stephens will compete for the seat currently held by Wendy Wintersgill, who also is term-limited and cannot run again. In District 4, incumbent Bill Malesh is unopposed in his bid for a second term.