- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 1, 2003

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams yesterday said his office is reviewing a short list of candidates to fill two appointed positions on the D.C. Board of Education that have been vacant since the end of last year.
   
   “We’re very, very close to making a decision on the school board appointments,” Mr. Williams said at his weekly press briefing.
   
   Williams administration officials would not identify any of the candidates, but The Washington Times has learned that the short list includes Jane Smith, Kent Amos and Carrie Thornhill.
   
   Mr. Amos, 58, is a former vice president of the Xerox Corp.; Mrs. Smith, 56, is the former president of the National Council of Negro Women; and Mrs. Thornhill is vice president for youth investment and community outreach for D.C. Agenda.
   
   Gregory McCarthy, the mayor’s policy director, yesterday told The Times that his office is conducting police and background checks on a “short list” of candidates for the appointment to the board.
   
   “With all the work that needs to be done on behalf of the District’s children, I am pleased that the board will soon have the full complement of its members,” D.C. School Board President Peggy Cooper Cafritz said.
   
   Mr. McCarthy said the administration recognizes the importance of the appointments, and that “they be done quickly and carefully.”
   
   The Times reported in February that Roger Wilkins and Charles R. Lawrence III, both college professors, would not seek reappointment. Their terms expired Dec. 31.
   
   Mr. Lawrence, a law professor at Georgetown University, said he was upset with Mr. Williams’ “deliberate” evasiveness regarding his renomination. After several failed attempts to meet with the mayor, Mr. Lawrence concluded he was not a candidate for reappointment.
   
   Mr. Wilkins, a professor at George Mason University, removed himself from contention to protest the treatment Mr. Lawrence received.
   
   Mr. Amos, a D.C. native, said he would gladly serve if the mayor called on him. “We all have an obligation to use our assets to support our community,” he said.
   
   The former corporate leader turned community activist founded the Urban Family Institute in 1991. The organization is dedicated to providing a comprehensive approach to raising children in urban communities.
   
   Mr. Amos opened the Community Academy Public Charter School in 1998 under the D.C. Public Schools Charter.
   
   “I opened it under the public schools because I believe the parents deserve some say in what goes on in their schools,” he said.
   
   “I believe in developing our teachers and educating them, and I have a strong corporate management background.”
   
   A school-choice advocate, Mr. Amos said he was unaware that he was a candidate for the school board.
   
   Mrs. Smith, who holds a doctorate in education, specializes in developing public-private partnerships and successful neighborhood-based after-school programs.
   
   She is a consultant for four foundations on subjects related to leadership, education, race and families in communities.
   
   School officials have said Mrs. Smith would be an asset to the body on the operations and visions committee given her extensive experience.
   
   Mrs. Thornhill also has a long history in developing public-private partnerships. She has been an activist for community change in the District for more than 40 years.
   
   D.C. Agenda is a nonprofit civic organization that supports community leadership and development in the District.
   
   Neither Mrs. Thornhill nor Mrs. Smith returned calls yesterday seeking comment.

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