The new student member of the Board of Education laid out his plans for his term in office to tackle some of the major issues facing Montgomery County’s school system.
“It really is humbling to have the trust and support of so many amazing students and the scope of this job does not escape me but I’m going to work every day to make sure that I make our students proud,” said 17-year-old Matthew Post, a rising senior at Sherwood High School in Olney, whom middle school and high school students elected to the position April 26 and began his term July 1.
Post, who previously served as the as the vice-president of the Montgomery County Regional Student Government Association, is the first to hold the position from his school. He said his priorities are closing the achievement gap, destigmatizing mental health issues and expanding career training programs.
He added that he plans to work closely with regional student government association and form an advisory council to ensure it represents the county’s student body.
During his campaign for the position, Post emphasized the removal of middle school Wi-Fi and social media blocks, addressing dress code equality and reforming the student disciplinary code. Current MCPS policy allows middle school students to have mobile phones turned on during school but prohibits use of the devices during lunch.
“This to me seems like a common sense policy reform,” he said shortly after his election. “This could bring our schools into the 21st century and acclimate our students to using 21st-century tools responsibly as they enter high school where they are granted much greater freedom,” he added.
The Sherwood rising senior succeeds Eric Guerci who was first elected in 2015 and served two oneyear terms while attending Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.
“Something I learned from Eric, was that although the SMOB is an equal on the board of education, he should never forget that the ‘s’ in that name stands for ‘student,’” Post said. “As Eric did, I’m going to prioritize remaining connected to the student body and continuing to bring the student’s voice to the table,” he added.
Guerci, who graduated in May and will be attending Princeton University in the fall, reflected on his tenure during the swearing in ceremony at the Carver Education Services Center in Rockville.
“As I leave the Board, I am honored to join the lasting connection of former MCPS SMOBs,” he said. “It is because of the hard work of my predecessors that this seat retains legitimacy and that today it is fully enfranchised to act on behalf of students in all areas that affect their daily lives.” The SMOB is a member of the Board of Education with full voting privileges on all issues except for negative personnel action. Legislation passed in 2016 expanded voting privileges to include boundary changes, the capital and operating budgets, collective bargaining and school closings.
Candidates for the position must be either sophomores or juniors, with the former eligible for reelection. Elections take place in April of every school year with students from sixth to 12th grade eligible to vote.
Students who serve in the position are unpaid but receive student service learning hours, a social studies course credit and a $5000 college scholarship.