McGee wants to see efforts to improve district continue
CHESTERTOWN — With Kent County Board of Education members having made some very difficult decisions possible over the last two years, President Trish McGee is seeking another term because she wants to see how they turn out in the long run.
McGee is running for a second four-year term on the Board of Education. She was elected in 2014 and has served as president for the last two years.
Associate editor of the Kent County News, she covered the Board of Education for more than a decade before deciding to run. She also spends a lot of time in schools as a field hockey coach and as the News sports reporter.
Having lived here for most of her life, McGee attended Kent County Public Schools, though she went away to boarding school for her last two years of high school. She then attended Washington College, graduating with a degree in history.
“I thought I knew a lot going in just because I had attended and reported on school board meetings for years,” McGee said of being on the Board of Education. “It’s totally different on the other side. Not that I didn’t appreciate that there was hard work involved. I guess I didn’t appreciate how much was involved.”
McGee said four years is not enough to gain a real foothold on any elected po- sition. She said office holders spend the first two years getting acclimated to their posts.
In looking at her first term, McGee said she was part of some very big decisions. They included closing Millington and Worton elementary schools, signing Superintendent Karen Couch to another four-year contract and awarding the student transportation contract to a new vendor, only to see that turn out to be a disaster.
She wants to see what progress results from those efforts. How does the elementary school consolidation work out over the next four years? How does the district provide for a smaller population of students as students’ individual needs become greater?
McGee said the student enrollment in the district has been declining for 20 years. She said she is not sure how the district can turn that around, nor does she feel that responsibility should fall solely on the district’s shoulders.
McGee thinks some parents opting to send their children to private schools feel their children cannot get the same quality education in public schools.
She disagrees with that notion. She sees it daily in her interactions with students.
“They’re achieving. They’re responsible citizens. They’re going to good colleges. And they’re getting great educations,” McGee said.
“And I think public school’s the real world. You’re going to have to work with someone that doesn’t look like you and doesn’t think like you,” she said. “So I think it’s better if you get introduced to differentness at a younger age.”
She also wants to see test scores improve and the district hire a more diverse staff.
McGee thinks people should vote for her because she has the experience, especially with what the Board of Education has dealt with over the last two years.
“I think we’ve tackled some of the most challenging issues that any school district can face. We’ve been thrown a few curveballs, that’s for sure,” McGee said.
This article is the first in a series of interviews with the 2018 candidates for Kent County Board of Education. The primary is June 26; the general election is Nov. 6.