Three appointed to city school board

February 18, 2010|By Jonathan Pitts |

Gov. Martin O'Malley and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake have announced the appointment of a new member to the city school board and the reappointments of two others, returning the panel to its full complement of nine members for the first time since June.

Working from a list of applicants generated by the state board of education, O'Malley and Rawlings-Blake announced Thursday the addition of Lisa Akchin, the head of marketing and public relations at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the reappointments of members Jerrelle Francois and Maxine J. Wood, both of whose terms were set to expire.

Akchin will fill the post vacated by Brian D. Morris, the chairman who left the board last summer just weeks before his term was set to expire.

City schools chief Andrés Alonso praised the appointments. "I am [also] very happy I am back to having a nine-member board," he said in an e-mail to The Baltimore Sun.

The city board is appointed jointly by the governor and the mayor, both of whom said they were proud to add Akchin and extend the service of Wood and Francois, now entering their first and second full terms, respectively.

"Each member appointed today possesses the skill and leadership necessary to ensure every child in Baltimore City receives the quality public education they deserve," O'Malley said in a statement.

Akchin, who has served as a UMBC associate vice president since 1994, directs public relations and marketing for the university as well as its efforts in government and community relations. She was earlier the marketing director for the University of Maryland Medical System.

A 2009 master's graduate of the urban studies and planning program at the University of Maryland, College Park, she has won awards for her work with disadvantaged communities.

"[She] will bring enormous expertise in how what we do links to rigorous higher education and to the larger business community," Alonso said.

She will be filling a board position that has been vacant since Morris resigned in June in order to accept a newly created, $175,000-per-year job as a deputy CEO for city schools.

He stepped away from that position, however, after his 15-year history of legal and financial troubles became public.

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