Zabrina Epps of Laurel has emerged the winner in Prince George’s County’s close-fought District 1 school board race, edging out opponent David Murray of Bowie with 50.66 percent of the vote.
Prince George’s County Board of Elections Administrator Alisha Alexander said final absentee ballots were tallied Monday night, showing Epps with 17,621 votes and Murray with 17,165 votes.
Results are still unofficial until certified, Alexander said. On Monday, Epps said that since the results had not yet been certified, she has not been in any official discussions with the school system administration, but said she has been reviewing public information about the budget and the transportation policy, and getting in touch with community groups regarding resources for SAT preparation and tutoring.
During the campaign, Epps' emphasis was on improving college readiness in the Prince George's County school system through the development of a more rigorous curriculum and creation of a community support network for students, as well as facilitating better communication between the schools and parents of English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) and students with disabilities.
Epps said once she takes office, her "number one priority is at the leadership level, hiring a new superintendent."
Epps said she will focus on a candidate with experience leading communities as diverse as Prince George's County, someone with no strong agenda, but who would be willing to work with others and would continue community outreach.
Epps, 41, is an academic adviser at The Community College of Baltimore County. She has a master's degree in public management and was a former budget analyst with the Maryland General Assembly and a fiscal officer with the Maryland secretary of state. She is also a tutor for high school students for Scholastic Aptitude Test preparation through her church, First Baptist Church of North Brentwood.
Murray, 20, is an undergraduate economics major at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and 2010 graduate of Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt. On election night, he said a loss would not be the end of his involvement in the school system.
“I intend to still stay active in the community and involved in PTAs. I want to make sure this district is strong academically, and I still intend to stay involved," Murray said.
On election night, Epps had a 250-vote lead over Murray. That lead was narrowed to 204 after the first round of absentee ballots were counted.
School board members will be sworn in during the Dec. 3 meeting.