Jacqueline Scott has been around students her entire life–she’s been one for quite some time, too.
“I’m one of those ‘life-timers,’” she said in an interview with Patch about her educational experience. The Georgetown University graduate also teaches at Georgetown. And she worked in admissions for a few years too.
With three children in the Howard County Public School System—two at Atholton High School and one at Clemens Crossing Elementary—Scott has decided it’s time to put her experience to use locally. She has thrown her hat in the ring, alongside a dozen others, for one of three seats on the Board of Education.
'In my blood'
Scott moved to Howard County nearly 17 years ago. She came to the area to attend college, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in government and sociology, a law degree and a master’s degree in leadership. All are from Georgetown University.
Between earning her undergraduate and law degree, Scott worked at the office of undergraduate admissions for two years. During the second year she worked as the coordinator of minority admissions and outreach.
“It was an awesome job because you get to travel and see all different parts of the country and meet lots of people,” she said. “It was a lot of hard work, but it was great.”
She returned to Georgetown as a professor at the law center and maintains an adjunct position while also teaching at Nyack College’s Washington, D.C. campus.
Scott put her law degree to work in public policy where she focuses on health care and children's issues.
Education runs in Scott’s family. Her mother taught in public and private schools in New Jersey, where Scott grew up. “I sort of grew up surrounded by teachers and educators,” Scott said. Education “has always been in my blood.”
There is pride
Scott’s name was in the media last year after hosted by County Executive Ken Ulman. She spoke about a lack of diversity on the School Board.
“Our children deserve to have a board that is representative, including geographically, socioeconomically, culturally and racially, and looks like them and comes from the perspective that they come from,” she said at the July 2011 forum.
“My husband and I were drawn—like many people today—to Howard County and Columbia in part for all of the things it stood for historically,” she said Monday, March 5, the day of the .
When she moved to Howard County, “I thought, wow, what a wonderful place with wonderful opportunities for kids to learn and grow in a nurturing and safe environment.” Because of her background, “I clearly understand how well we have it here … not to settle with that,” she said, “but keep it in mind as we press forward.”
Scott lives in Columbia, but she also understands that she lives in Hickory Ridge. “There’s pride in Wilde Lake. There’s pride in Hickory Ridge. There’s pride in Owen Brown. How do we embrace that individuality and work together to make a whole?”
“We have such a wonderfully diverse population both in terms of traditional things like race,” she said, but also in terms of age. “People who have lived here for 40 years and raised their kids here have expectations … it’s important to have someone who understands and is willing to listen to those points of view.”
Public service as a challenge
"With three kids and working full time I had to make some choices. Where do I want to put my time and my service? To me, there's no more noble a place for that to be than with your kids at school."
After last year's discussion about representation—and a failed attempt by Del. Frank Turner to change how board members would be elected in order to increase diversity—Scott just felt the timing was right to run for the Board.
"I felt like 'Hey, you can make a difference. You can be involved in some change.'"
The board has as some have criticized what has been characterized as an overly contentious culture.
“In general, public service is challenging,” Scott said, “because people are just people. They are voted into these leadership positions, and stepping into those roles is a challenging feat. It takes a lot of courage.”