The Student Member of the Board (SMOB) is a position in which a tenth or eleventh grade MCPS student can obtain for the subsequent school year. As SMOB, this student represents MCPS students at board meetings, and votes on behalf of MCPS students.
The current SMOB for the 2018-2019 school year is Ananya Tadikonda, a senior at Richard Montgomery High school. Tadikonda works on bringing attention to issues relevant to MCPS students. Recently, she was able to get the Board of Education to take a closer look at school demographics in order to improve the condition of Montgomery County schools. She also advocates for women of color in relation to their health care, so female students may have equal opportunities.
Being Student Member of the Board is an important position that is quite sought after. It is vital that students have a voice when it comes to making decisions that affect them. It is essential that the SMOB is willing to advocate for the rights of the students that elected them.
In order to become the Student Member of the Board, a student would have to be nominated by MCPS students grades 6-12. In order to achieve the position of SMOB, the candidate must follow the rules written in the Protocols for the Election of the Student Member of the Board of Education. The protocol lists an array of criteria that must be followed in order to have a smooth transition from one SMOB to the next.
The period in which students can be nominated for SMOB is called the filing period. The filing period refers to the time frame in which students are able to nominate a candidate of their choosing to be the next SMOB. The filing period is always throughout the month of January. This year it was from January 2 to the 25.
Once the filing period starts, student may endorse themselves, or receive endorsement from a friend. It is common to see encouraging messages on their social medias explaining why they are best for the job. Once the period is over, the election countdown officially begins.
The Special Elections Committee (chosen by the MCR president) are in charge of running the convention where delegates from each school vote on the nominees. The SMOB Nominating Convention, or “Nom Con”, where the pool of candidates is narrowed to the top two, will be held on February 20, 2019.
After several months of significant canvassing and school outreach, the general SMOB election will be held on Wednesday, April 24, at every middle and high school in the county. Students who are excused as absent may file an absentee ballot in advance; at the end of the day, several months of exhaustive planning by the Special Elections Committee will conclude in an announcement of the winner of the race.