- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Former City Administrator Robert C. Bobb yesterday was elected president of the D.C. Board of Education, a role likely to be redefined under the administration of Mayor-elect Adrian M. Fenty.

With 139 out of 142 precincts reporting, Mr. Bobb had 43,332 votes, or 44 percent, according to unofficial results released by the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics.

Current School Board Vice President Carolyn N. Graham, 60, was Mr. Bobb’s closest competitor in the nonpartisan race, collecting 34,284 votes, or 35 percent. Timothy L. Jenkins, 67, former interim president of the University of the District of Columbia, had 12,277 votes, or 12 percent.

Laurent Ross, 52, former director of the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant Program, had 4,724 votes, or 5 percent; and former teacher and community activist Sunday Abraham had 2,772 votes, or 3 percent.

Mr. Bobb hosted about 150 supporters at Alero restaurant on U Street Northwest last night for a swanky victory celebration that included a buffet, a deejay and a dance floor.

“The school board itself has a significant leadership void. I will fill that void,” Mr. Bobb said. “We can drive this system to the point where it becomes a world-class public education system in a world-class city.”

Voters yesterday also returned incumbent William Lockridge to the school board’s District 4 seat and elected Lisa Raymond, a former charter school chief operating officer, in District 3.

Mr. Lockridge, 56, collected 9,192 votes, or 44 percent in the five-candidate field. Consultant and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Jacque D. Patterson, 41, got 4,288 votes, or 21 percent. Child advocate Jackie Pinckney Hackett, 40, got 3,770 votes, or 18 percent. Former Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Cardell Shelton, 76, got 2,252 votes, or 11 percent. Jimmy Johnson got 1,032 votes, or 5 percent.

“I’ve worked hard and I’m glad people feel they can depend on me,” Mr. Lockridge said. “For people to have faith in me, to re-elect me, speaks very loudly about the people in this community and my leadership on the Board of Education.”

Mrs. Raymond, 36, won in another five-candidate field, taking 11,991 votes, or 47 percent. Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Marc Borbely, 33, got 4,760 votes, or 19 percent. Substitute teacher Robert Vinson Brannum, 53, got 3,297 votes, or 13 percent. Research scientist Stephane Baldi, 37, got 2,745 votes, or 11 percent. Mary Baird-Currie got 2,515 votes, or 10 percent.

Mr. Bobb, 61, had stacked up a huge fundraising lead in the days leading up to the election, bringing in nearly $246,000. He resigned from his post as city administrator under Mayor Anthony A. Williams this fall to run for president of the school board.

The role of the board and its president is likely to change dramatically in an administration headed by Mr. Fenty.

Mr. Fenty, 35, has suggested that he will initiate a mayoral takeover of the struggling D.C. Public School System, and has studied models of such a move in cities including New York and Los Angeles.

If a mayoral takeover does occur, the board could be relegated to an advisory role.

Mr. Bobb would not comment on a possible takeover before the election, saying he would reserve his opinions until he sees an actual plan.

He did, however, meet with the mayor-elect before the election. Last night, he said he wants to present a “complete and total unified front.”

“The first thing on my agenda will be to meet with Mayor-elect Fenty and start the dialogue in terms of his plan for the public education system and my plan for where I would like to see it go,” Mr. Bobb said.

The school system faces mounting challenges that include declining enrollment, low standardized test scores and deteriorating facilities.

The board also will be in flux for the near future. The mayor will appoint two other members at the end of the year to replace those whose terms expired, and the board is scheduled to revert to an all-elected body in 2008.

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