PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MD —Dr. Juanita Miller, chair of the Prince George’s County school board, will not resign, she said in a four-minute video posted to the school district’s website. County Executive Angela Alsobrooks last week asked for Miller’s resignation.
“I will continue to fulfill my duties as board chair with transparency, integrity and dedication to principle,” Miller said in the video. “It is important that the accusations were inspired by those whose goals have been to divert attention from the accomplishments of our staff and students. Instead of embracing and celebrating the graduating class of 2022, celebrating a national award in recognition for our language immersion program, celebrating the international award for our alternative school construction funding program culminating with the opening of six brand-new schools in fall 2023.
“And in addition, the distractions overshadow the other accomplishments made during my tenure including our award-winning board-focused work group on climate action. Like me, there are many school board members that approach the work of the board in a professional, thoughtful and principle manner,” she continued. “There is a small group of school board members that have not embraced nor embody these values.”
On Thursday, Alsobrooks released a letter she had written to Miller Wednesday requesting her resignation. The correspondence came after the Maryland Board of Education filed charges of removal against Miller.
The letter notes that last year, Alsobrooks created a task force to study the structure of the school system. The task force recommended returning to an all-elected school board. Legislation subsequently was passed to implement an all-elected board by 2024 and allows the board to select a chair and vice chair by December of this year.
“As we begin moving forward on a new path with our board and its leadership, I believe that now is the time to start fresh with a clean slate and in order to help that process, and in light of what we discussed in recent days, I believe itis best for you to resign from the board at this time,” Alsobrooks wrote.
She thanked Miller for her service and commitment to “improving the lives and educational experience of Prince George’s County students and families.”
“You demonstrated a passion for educational excellence and equity during your tenure on the board and you brought a wealth of knowledge and experience that served our schools and county well,” she added. “I look forward to receiving your letter of resignation as soon as possible and I wish you all the best in all your future endeavors.”
Miller, a former state delegate and water utility commission board member, also has been at the center of multiple controversies since her appointment 16 months ago and ethics complaints have been filed against her. In her video, she also said:
“I believe that by allowing the process afforded me by the laws and procedures governing the state board of education actions the public will have the opportunity to evaluate the suspiciousness and lack of merit underlining these unfounded and frivolous charge. In the interim, I will continue my effort to facilitate the work of Prince George’s County Board of Education. As I have previously stated, for the foreseeable future my focus will be to continue to advance the board of education’s mission serving students, staff, stakeholders and families of Prince George’s County Public Schools.”
Recently, the Maryland State Board of Education made public two charges against Miller that could lead to her removal if she does not voluntarily resign. The charges were approved at a closed-door meeting May 24 and include her refusal to sign a legal services contract with a law firm the majority of board members approved hiring. Instead, she secured a different law firm without board approval. She also invited unauthorized guests, specifically two attorneys who provided legal advice, to attend confidential executive sessions of the school board last year, according to a notice of the charges.
The state board also disclosed that Miller withheld from her colleagues seven ethics complaints and then failed to present “findings and recommendations” from the local board’s ethics panel in a timely manner. That failure, the state board found, prevented the Prince George’s school board from fulfilling its responsibility to make a final decision on the allegations.
Alsobrooks made no mention of the state school board’s charges or her potential removal.