UPPER MARLBORO – Despite a growing Hispanic population, the Prince George’s County Board of Education has never had a Hispanic member – until now. Lupi Grady of District 2 beat incumbent Peggy Higgins and Dinora Hernandez of District 3 beat incumbent Amber Waller, becoming the first Hispanic members to serve on the school board. Sonya […]
UPPER MARLBORO – Despite a growing Hispanic population, the Prince George’s County Board of Education has never had a Hispanic member – until now.
Lupi Grady of District 2 beat incumbent Peggy Higgins and Dinora Hernandez of District 3 beat incumbent Amber Waller, becoming the first Hispanic members to serve on the school board. Sonya Williams of District 9 and Carolyn Boston of District 6 both won their reelections this year.
The race between Hernandez and Waller was extremely close – after the last absentee votes were counted on Nov. 12, Hernandez beat two-term board member Waller by only 93 votes, according to unofficial voting results.
Grady and Hernandez said they bring the immigrant perspective to the board, but want to address issues in the community as a whole.
“We’re coming in with different insight,” said Hernandez.
Grady’s family migrated from El Salvador to Washington D.C. in the early 1980s. Hernandez is also a daughter of El Salvador immigrants and a District 3 native.
“We all have our different experiences we bring,” said Grady.
Prince George’s County has the second highest Hispanic population in the state, after Montgomery County, according to data from the U.S. Census. From 2000 to 2010, the Hispanic population in the county increased by 126 percent, according to census data. Some municipalities in the county are predominantly Hispanic or have a large Hispanic population, such as Langley Park, Riverdale and Hyattsville, according to census data.
Almost 26 percent of students in the county are Hispanic, as of December 2013. The remaining student population is almost 65 percent African American, almost 5 percent white, and almost 3 percent are Asian American.
Grady is currently a member of County Executive Rushern Baker III’s education commission and deputy director of the Latin American Youth Center, an organization with three sites in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, which serves minority and immigrant youth. Hernandez serves as the first Latino liaison for the county. Baker endorsed both Grady and Hernandez during their campaigns.
“I think they’ll bring a new perspective to support our growing and diverse community, especially the Latino community,” said Board member Sonya Williams, who won reelection the election.
Board candidates in Districts 1,4,5,7, and 8 will run for office in the 2016 presidential election. Terms are four years long and there are no term limits for school board members. Fourteen people compose the school board, including the student board member.
The swearing in ceremony for elected school board members will be Dec. 1.