Shirley Brandman Elected Board of Education President

December 9, 2008
Patricia O’Neill Elected Vice President of the Board

Shirley Brandman was unanimously elected today (December 9) by her colleagues as president of the Montgomery County Board of Education for the next year. Patricia O'Neill also was unanimously elected vice president. The election occurred during the Board's regularly scheduled business meeting. Both new officers will serve for a one-year term.

Ms. Brandman said, “It is with great pride and enormous humility that I accept the honor of serving as Board president. Thank you to Ms. Navarro for her dedicated service over these past two years. Now more than ever, my colleagues and I are committed to our children and to our staff to move closer toward achieving the Board’s vision of equity and excellence for the students of our county.” Mrs. O’Neill said, “I am looking forward to serving on the Board through these challenging times, protecting the interests of our students.”

Shirley Brandman is serving her first term as a member of the Board of Education. She is chair of the Committee on Special Populations and a member of the Policy Committee. She began her professional career as an attorney representing children in abuse and neglect cases in Newark, New Jersey. In 1993, she founded Cornell Law School’s first Child Advocacy Clinic. After her children were born, she returned to school to become a teacher for children with learning disabilities.

Ms. Brandman has previously served as an elected local and county PTA leader. She was appointed by the county executive as a parent representative to the Montgomery County Commission for Children and Youth from 2002–2004 and appointed by the governor to serve on the statewide Professional Standards and Teacher Education Board.

Ms. Brandman is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School and holds a master’s degree in special education/learning disabilities from American University. She is married with two sons who attend the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS).

Mrs. O'Neill was first elected to the Board of Education in 1998. She has served three times as Board president and three times as vice president. Mrs. O’Neill is chair of the Policy Committee and a member of the Fiscal Management Committee and the Communications and Public Engagement Committee.

Mrs. O’Neill is past president of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE) and past co-chair of the Washington Area Boards of Education. She has served on numerous advisory committees for education-related issues, including the Maryland Blue Ribbon Panel on Teen Pregnancy and the Maryland Comp HSA Task Force. In 2006, she was named by then-Governor Robert Ehrlich to represent MABE on the newly formed Task Force on School Safety and was selected as a member of the national network of 100 District Leaders for Citizenship and Service-Learning. Prior to joining the Board, Mrs. O’Neill was a longtime PTA activist in the Walt Whitman cluster who served in various volunteer and leadership roles.

Mrs. O’Neill is a graduate of Walter Johnson High School and has a degree in social science from Southern Methodist University. She is married and has two daughters who are graduates of MCPS.

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