Prince George’s Co. school board member resigns, announces run for Md. Senate

One of the elected members of the Prince George’s County Board of Education says she’s resigning.

Raaheela Ahmed, 28, served on the district’s school board for the past five years. She’s stepping down, effective Feb. 19, to run for the Maryland Senate seat, currently held by incumbent Ron Watson. He was appointed to the District 23 seat by Gov. Larry Hogan in August.

“I’ve been on the board for 5 years. I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly,” Ahmed said in an interview with WTOP.

According to the Maryland State Board of Elections website, there are two candidates who’ve filed to run: Watson, the incumbent, and Sylvia Johnson. Both are Democrats, as is Ahmed.

In her announcement, Ahmed said, “It was an honor” to serve on the board, and that she leaves with a “heavy heart.”

She told WTOP that she’s running because, “someone needs to step up and make the bold decisions to save our democracy when it comes to the governance of our school system.”

In a tweet from earlier Wednesday, Ahmed said she was not resigning due to the “apathy due to this flawed system; to the contrary, I’m resigning out of a sense of strong responsibility to our community, in order to restore our democracy and our voice, and to focus on representing us all in the Maryland State Senate, District 23.”

Her departure creates a vacancy on the school board. By law, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks has the authority to appoint a replacement. Ahmed told WTOP that she sees the irony in that.

Ahmed is among the elected members of the school board that have pushed to see the structure of the board overhauled from a mix of appointed and elected members to an all-elected school board.

She has clashed repeatedly with board chair Juanita Miller, who holds one of the seats on the school board appointed by Alsobrooks.

Ahmed was first elected to the Prince George’s County Board of Education in 2016, but she began her political career earlier. She first ran for the school board as an 18-year-old.

Asked about running for office at a time when so much of the political discourse is heated, Ahmed said she’s an optimist. And she said her generation, “Can see the past, can see the present and can imagine a better future.”

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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