What do a computer science professor, an artist, an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor, an urban gardening proponent, an international space law expert, an editor, and a stay-at-home mom have in common? All are advocates for Hyattsville students, and all were recently appointed to serve two-year renewable terms on the City of Hyattsville’s new Education Advisory Committee (EAC).

Though the EAC has yet to convene, the committee will meet beginning this January on the fourth Wednesday of each month from 6:30 to 8:00pm, and the meetings will be open to the public. January’s agenda includes administrative tasks such as electing a chair and vice-chair and initiating the start of a discussion about what local schools need to be successful.

Other municipalities in Prince George’s County, including College Park, Greenbelt, and Bowie, have similar committees. College Park’s EAC provides scholarships for residents to attend University of Maryland summer camps. Greenbelt’s organization version sponsors and organizes after school academic enrichment clubs and gives annual awards to students who make positive contributions to the Greenbelt community. Bowie’s Education Committee, formed in 1976, distributes free children’s books at an annual festival and provides small merit-based college scholarships to graduating high school seniors. The committees in all three municipalities also manage small-scale grant programs that provide funds to schools.

According to the motion that chartered the EAC, which was submitted by Hyattsville City Council President Candace Hollingsworth (Ward 1) in November 2013, the EAC is charged with “helping the city identify positive and meaningful opportunities to influence student achievement,” and strengthening relationships between the city, schools and educational organizations. The motion further directs the committee to develop high-impact community and school partnerships, review grant applications, serve as a resource to staff- developing programs for youth and young adults, and advise the city council and mayor on policy advocacy for Hyattsville students.

Hyattsville Councilmembers Bart Lawrence (Ward 1) and Robert Croslin (Ward 2) will serve on the committee as city council liaisons.  Hyattsville Community Services Director Jake Rollow will serve as an administrative liaison.

Six other appointees make up the rest of the nine-member committee (names  listed here in the order their professions are listed above): Hector Corrada Bravo, Billy Friebele, Jen Kubit, Joe Ludes, Michael C. Mineiro, T. Carter Ross, and Diveena Seecharan. Members Seecharan, Kubit, and Ross have all been PTA leaders in local schools, as has Councilmember Lawrence. Many of the appointees teach college students or adults. Kubit and Ludes both have experience as public school teachers.

According to Lawrence, “The committee members are experienced and thoughtful, each bringing a unique set of skills. … I hope the committee and Hyattsville have patience, because this is a great opportunity for the community.”