Mayor Young Makes Appointment to School Board
Wednesday Nov 13th, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE, MD. — Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young this morning welcomed Shantell Roberts to the Baltimore Board of School Commissioners.
The parent of a student with disabilities, Roberts has experience navigating the school district’s support services for students with disabilities and has served as a forceful spirit of advocacy and accountability. Finally, as an Open Society Institute Fellow who founded a nonprofit to distribute safe portable crib alternatives to families statewide, she is a sought-after authority on infant mortality and wellbeing. With the addition of Roberts, a parent of a Baltimore City Public Schools student, the number of parent representatives on the Board increases to two. Roberts replaces Commissioner Muriel Berkeley whose term has ended.
“As I extend my sincere thanks to Commissioner Berkeley for her dedicated service on the Board of School Commissioners, I am also excited to welcome Shantell Roberts. Shantell has had to fight for her own child, and every day in her professional capacity she supports other parents as they work to keep their children healthy and safe,” said Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young. “Parents know best what their children need and our schools, and our students, in particular, can only benefit from having more parents advocating for all children as members of our school board.”
The Board of School Commissioners is accountable for—and responsible for raising—the level of academic achievement of City Schools students and improving management and administration of the district. It is comprised of 10 commissioners, nine adults who serve three-year terms and one student who serves a one-year term. In 2022, an additional two elected commissioners will join the Board, making for a 12-member body. The mayor appoints commissioners from candidate pools put forth by a community panel. Collectively, Board commissioners must meet government, nonprofit, business experience and educational expertise requirements. At least one commissioner must be a current City Schools parent and at least one must have experience with educating students with disabilities.
“We had a particularly strong pool of commissioner candidates this round, which made the selection process even more difficult,” Mayor Young said. “But that’s a good problem to have, and I am confident that we have made an excellent choice with Shantell and I look forward to her contributions to the Board.”
Roberts is executive director of Touching Young Lives, Inc., a nonprofit she founded to launch the Portable Alternative Crib program upon completing the Johns Hopkins University Social Innovation Lab and Open Society Institute’s Community Fellowship. To date, she has distributed more than 10,000 safe crib alternatives to Maryland families. For this work, Roberts received the 2015 Baltimore City Youth Commission’s “We Are the Dream” award and the 2016 Small Nonprofit Innovator Award from the Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce.