Julie Henn, a Perry Hall resident, now having served four years on the Baltimore County Board of Education and two years representing District 5, was just elected by her fellow board members to a one-year term as chair.
“I am tremendously honored and humbled to serve in this leadership role,” Henn said. “I want to bring peace, healing and stability to a board and school system that has had a tumultuous couple of years.”
Henn, a mother of two Baltimore County public school students, said that she plans to invest and spend funding resources wisely in order to maximize education outcomes and “set up students for success.”
“Now is the time to put everything else aside and focus on meeting the needs of our children,” she said, adding that the educational, social and emotional needs of students are greater now than ever due in part to the coronavirus pandemic.
Meeting those needs, she said, starts with hiring more school support staff, and retaining and attracting more educators, full-time and substitute.
“The most significant issue right now is teacher retention,” she said. “We cannot afford to lose teachers and need to take better care of them. BCPS has to be a place where people want to work.”
Based on the recommendations of an operational efficiency review conducted earlier this year by Public Works, which showed a number of issues within the school system, Henn said that she plans to create an ad hoc committee to move forward on those recommendations.
The pandemic, along with the 2020 ransomware attack that shut down Baltimore County schools, exposed numerous weaknesses in the school system, Henn said, and the “silver lining” of that is that it now has an opportunity to remedy them.
“We have a big year ahead and a lot of work to do. But I have hope for this next stage and a renewed sense of energy,” she said. “As painful as the last couple of years were, we will rebuild and come out on the other side into something new and better.”