With a passion for public service and 13 years of experience with the Prince George’s County Public School system, running for a seat on the Board of Education seems to be a natural fit for Bowie resident Raaheela Ahmed.
Yet, Ahmed’s years of experience come not as being a teacher or a parent in the system, but as a former student.
The 18-year-old UMd. student feels like her very recent and direct experience with the school system are what makes her an ideal candidate to represent District 5, where she garnered 35 percent of the vote in this month’s primary, earning her a place on the ballot this November.
“I think my experience in the school system showed me that the decisions made [by the Board] have a direct effect,” said Ahmed.
Education has always been important to Ahmed, who is as student of the Honors College at UMd., where she is studying biology and business. She graduated from the Eleanor Roosevelt High School's Science and Technology program with above a 4.0. grade-point average. Ahmed also visits with troubled schools in the county to address literacy issues as a Student Presenter with the America Reads America Counts program at UMd.
Ahmed credits her teachers and parents for inspiring her and giving her the confidence to run for office.
“Their confidence in me gave me the ability to do well and succeed throughout my life and through the school system,” she said of her public school teachers and staff.
Her parents were also very supportive of her decision to run for office and have been very involved in her campaign.
In addition to running for school board, volunteering, and being a full-time college student, Ahmed is also the CEO of SendWithMe, and online database that helps connect people who like to send/carry a package from one location to another.
“It’s given me an understanding of how business works and how crucial it is to communicate with people,” said Ahmed of her position with the company.
Communication is a big concern of her constituents, Ahmed said, and something she plans to address if she is elected to the school board in November.
“There is a lack of communication and we need to bridge that gap in order to move forward as a county,” she said.
If elected, Ahmed will also focus on improving school environments that kids are in with regards to safety, increasing parental involvement and improving teacher retention.
Ahmed will face off against the candidate with the second highest number of votes in her district, incumbent and Board of Education Chair Verjeana Jacobs, for the District 5 seat in November.