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February 1, 2012

Updated: Local attorney hopes to bring international perspective to city school board

Updated on February 1: 

A new member has been appointed to the Baltimore city school board, after two searches have taken place in the last year to find someone to replace Anirban Basu, the renowned economist who served as the business-minded board member since 2005.

Marnell Cooper, a Baltimore attorney, will be sworn in Feb. 14. According to his Charles Street law firm's website, Cooper specializes in representing small businesses locally and internationally. 

Updated: I caught up with Cooper on Tuesday, who said that it "is a tremendous honor to be able to serve in this capacity." 

"What I hope to bring to the board is my experience as a person who has been a part of, and a graduate of the school system, and matriculated through two universities to go on to do business around the world. Hopefully I can bring that insight into how to help the students of Baltimore.”

Cooper, who doesn't have children in the city school system, said that he hopes to build on the efforts of the system. He said that he has, however, received feedback from the community about the state of city schools, which he described as, "extremely positive in terms of what they see as growth over the course of years."

As an international attorney, said that he takes particularly interest in strengthening and expanding International Baccalaureate programs, an elite and globally recognized college preparatory program, currently offered at City College and Mount Washington Elementary.

When asked to identify some school system challenges he hopes to help tackle, Cooper said, "I haven't started serving yet, but I know there are some challenges coming up.”

School officials confirmed the appointment after The Sun obtained board members' formal notifications last week. Board members are jointly appointed by the mayor and the governor.

"We're very pleased with the joint appointment by mayor and governor," said Neil Duke, president of the city school board. "[Cooper] brings to our board a wealth of experience, and will be a great addition." 

The appointment of a new member has been a long anticipated. While board appointments usually take place in the spring, the Maryland State Department of Education reopened a second search in August for a new member after the first round of candidates didn't make the cut.

The listing was for a candidate to"possess a high level of knowledge and expertise concerning the successful administration of a large business, non-profit, or governmental entity and have served in a high level management position within such an entity..."

In addition to Cooper's appointment, current board members David Stone and Bob Heck were  re-appointed to the board to serve their second, three-year, terms. 

A call to Cooper's office on Tuesday was not returned, so I haven't been able to interview him about his motivations and aspirations for the school system in his new role. Will post when I do.
Posted by Erica Green at 11:48 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Baltimore City


Great Choice on the part of the Mayor ( or whomever she let pick this one) and it only took her a year to find him! This former ambulance chaser deemed SUPERLAWYER is actually what the Board needed with his 3 year expertise at managing a charity budget that is 0.1% of the BCPSS budget . I note that it did not say he had children in the system, but I do wish him the best luck because this is not a game for the weak.

One day they might get some educators to help run education.

One day they might get some educators to help run education.

No educators on the board? The majority are (unless you don't think college professors are educators).
(quoted from the City Schools website)
Jerrelle F. Francois has dedicated her life to teaching and learning. In her 30-year career with Baltimore City Public Schools (City Schools), Ms. Francois served as a mathematics teacher, mathematics department head, middle school assistant principal, and middle and high school principal. As the Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools, she focused on establishing policies and procedures for improving K-12 curriculum and instruction, as well as system-wide special student support services.

Tina Hike-Hubbard began her education career when she was selected as a Teach For America (TFA) Corps Member in 1994. She taught at West Baltimore Middle School for three years. Ms. Hike-Hubbard also worked with the TFA national team by serving as a Faculty Director and a School Director during their Summer Institutes, supervising the successful implementation of a professional development program for a total of 104 newly recruited TFA corps members. Since 1997, Tina has served as Director of Education with Enterprise Community Partners (formally The Enterprise Foundation), where she is responsible for developing and managing one of the few comprehensive school/community reform efforts in the city of Baltimore.

David Stone has more than 20 years of experience in the field of special education, both as a teacher and administrator for students ranging from Pre-K to grade 12 and college level instruction. He holds a B.A. in History and a Masters Degree in Special Education from the Johns Hopkins University, where he is currently seeking a Doctorate in Education.

Dr. Sauls previously taught high school English and briefly worked for Reading Is Fundamental, Inc., the nation’s oldest children’s literacy organization...She is assistant professor of political science at American University in Washington, D.C. and studies, teaches, and writes on the history of political thought.

Dr. Wood spent 20 years in public education in Baltimore, as a middle and high school teacher, proposal developer/grants writer, program coordinator and elementary school principal for City Schools.

Since 1994, she (Lisa Akchin) has been Associate Vice President and Assistant to the President at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

A lot fewer are City School parents.
Lisa Akchin is the mother of two graduates of Baltimore City Public Schools (City Schools).

Mr. Heck and his wife have two sons in City Schools

Mr. Stone ... and his wife Heather have three sons, the oldest of whom attends a city school.

The IB/Primary Years Program is in the fifth year at Thomas Jefferson Elementary/Middle in Baltimore City. We were the first PYP IB program in the city and were recently recertified. I am wondering why Mt Washington was cited and we were not? Believe it or not, amazing things go on in other city schools besides Mt Washington, Roland Park, Poly and Ciy. Feel free to visit.

Why is it that Alot of people are brung in from out of state to help our baltimore city public school system or to advance but all it seems like is happening is that our school system is falling through the crack ? I just dont get it.

Why is it that Alot of people are brung in from out of state to help our baltimore city public school system or to advance but all it seems like is happening is that our school system is falling through the crack ? I just dont get it.

The new person is actually from Baltimore or has been here since high school so I give him that. That makes two "natives" on the Board.

Also Baltimore is a perfect choice for the experiment in education reform. What has been tried in small parts of New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and so on has not been applied to an entire system. They are too big. Many point to New Orleans but it took Katrina to get them to where they are. So here, outsiders come to prove out their theories with little concern for the damage that is done.

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