Ron Watson has been a Prince George’s County resident for over 50 years. He was born to Jeari and Ron Watson Sr., both former educators and retired Principals. At birth he lived in Seat Pleasant Maryland and was raised in District Heights in the community of Fairfield Knolls. He attended Walker Mill Junior High and graduated from Central Senior High in 1984. He currently resides in the Beechtree community of Upper Marlboro, MD.
ELECTED OFFICE & LEADERSHIP:
Ron was elected on November 7, 2006 to a four-year term as an At-Large member of the Prince George’s County Board of Education and was sworn in on December 4, 2006 (Click Video: swearing-in-ceremony). As a Board Member, he was elected by his peers and served 3 terms as the Board’s Vice-Chairman.
During his tenure, he has coached, mentored, and welcomed thousands of new graduates into the working world. His zest for education and rousing speeches where always sought to motivate and inspire the students of Prince George’s County (Click Video: Graduation).
Ron oversaw the development and implementation of the “Pay-for-Performance” Program for teachers and administrators known as FIRST (Financial Incentive Rewards for Supervisors and Teachers). FIRST was a strategic process for improving student achievement and enhancing employee compensation, and was the first such effort in the state of Maryland to be developed jointly between the School Board and the Unions (PGCEA and ASASP). This achievement resulted in the national recognition and visit from the U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.
In an effort to increase the county-wide communication of the school system‟s successes and challenges, he proposed and assisted in the establishment of the annual “State of the School System Address”. This allowed all county educational stakeholders to share and learn directly from the Superintendent, the School Board, and the students themselves of the quality of education being provided in the county.
In addition, he jointly proposed and oversaw the development and establishment of the Parent Liaison Program which enlisted the support of 203 Parent Liaisons and 26 ESOL Parent Liaisons to facilitate improved parental involvement, communication, and collaboration between school staff and the families of students in order to enhance student achievement. This county-wide communication effort also extended itself to the establishment of “video-streamed” Board of Education meetings, the “Your Board at Work” television program, as well as “Take Your Board to the Community” Meetings held throughout the county. Finally, he assisted in the development and participated in the 1st “Dual Language Parent Summit” in collaboration with the Mid-Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to support the county‟s Spanish speaking parents.
In collaboration with the Prince George‟s County Public Schools (PGCPS) Division of Student Services, he established and championed a new mentoring initiative called “Connecting Generations”. Connecting Generations was a county-wide mentoring program designed to improve success and build social skills by pairing a student with an adult mentor. The program identified mentors who were expected to work with students in both an academic and social settings throughout the school year and was targeted for students in grades 6-12.
Ron was selected by the State Superintendent to be a part of the “Maryland Delegation” to travel to Denmark to discuss educational “Best Practices” with Denmark’s Minister of Education. This allowed the school system to put increased emphasis on the development of a rich and robust Career & Technical Education (CTE) curriculum.
Finally, Ron graduated from the Center for the Reform of School Systems (CRSS). Through CRSS he completed a formal 24 month course with 10 other Urban School Districts of similar demographics and make-up as Prince George‟s County. This unique training provided him an in-depth understanding of Policy Development and Oversight, the development of Theories of Action for Change, the critical Building Blocks of Reform Governance of an Urban School System, as well as establishing Civic Capacity to properly and effectively engage the community in a proactive manner.
SUCCESS IN OFFICE:
- During his tenure as the Vice-Chariman, thirty-five schools in Prince George’s County exited “SchoolImprovement” status after making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for two consecutive year,
- Doswell E. Brooks Elementary School was named one of only two National Distinguished Title 1 Schools in the State of Maryland,
- Forty Prince George’s County Schools were recognized for overall subgroup improvements on the State Assessments,
- Initiated a countywide “Sit and Pass” campaign aimed at ensuring each senior passed the HSA exams during 2009 in preparation of the new graduation requirement. As a result, the 2009 graduation rate with the HSAs exceeded that of the prior 3 years, and
- The Schott Foundation ranked PGCPS third among large urban school districts with 10,000 or more black male students.
- Fifty teachers received National Board Certification,
- Nearly 300 teachers and 30 administrators participated in the Financial Incentives Rewardsfor Supervisors and Teachers (FIRST),
- Indicators of teacher quality rose and cut in half the percentage of provisional non-certified teachers,
- Prince George’s County Teacher Shannon Landefeld of Tulip Grove Elementary won the prestigious Milken Educator Award, and
- William Thomas of Charles Herbert Flowers High School won the Maryland State Teacher of the Year.
Established a framework which emphasized equity in its decision-making and enforced consistency in operations through the development of a cohesive Theory of Action. Ron played a significant role in the development of policies for:
- Constituent Services – for responding to constituent problems, issues,complaints and questions escalated to the board for resolution,
- Core Belief and Commitments – to define the guiding principals by which all activities of the Board will be undertaken,
- Meetings of the Board – ensures the primary focus of the Board Meetings is student achievement, and
- Systems Oversight – provides for the governance of major systems which include Human Resources, Operations, Supporting Services, and Information Systems.
Ron personally authored the “Board of Education Handbook” which is still in use today and serves as a guide for Members of the Board of Education, PGCPS staff, students and the community-at-large regarding the manner by which the board typically operates and carries out the authority delegated to it by law.
Ron has served two Governor appointments; the first was the Task Force on Student Physical Fitness in Maryland Schools, and the second was the Career and Technology Task Force. He also served on the State Task Force on the Establishment of Vocational and Technical Education High School Academies in Prince George’s County, the result of which facilitated the development of the Culinary Arts Program at Bladensburg High School.
Ron served as the Co-Chair of the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Committee. This committee develops and recommends to the county and state, the joint plan of the Board of Education and the Superintendent of Schools to fund capital projects during the fiscal year covered by the Capital Budget and the succeeding five fiscal years. In this capacity, Ron was called to testify and fight for Prince George’s fair share of State Funding.
Ron was a 4 year member on the Legislative Committee for the Maryland Associated Boards of Education (MABE) which also required numerous testimony in Annapolis on behalf of all school systems in the State of Maryland. He also worked with Delegate Aisha Braveboy and Senator Catherine Pugh to raise the compulsory age of education to reduce truancy and dropout rates.
Lastly, Ron met continuously and on a weekly basis with the Prince George’s Delegation to discuss the impact of proposed legislation on the County, and in particular the County’s School System.
On May 28th 2015 Ron was appointed by the Prince George’s County Council to serve on the Blue Ribbon Commission on Addressing Prince George’s County’s Structural Deficit, established by Council Resolution 26-2015 (PDF) as a part of the approved FY 2016 County Budget.
As a Commissioner, Ron was charged with recommending policies to the County Council and County Executive over the next several years that will address the County’s structural deficit – the imbalance caused when normal government spending exceeds tax revenues on an annual basis.
From 2015 to 2017, Ron has served as the Vice-Polemarch of the Hyattsville/Landover (MD) Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi. In his leadership role he is responsible for creating and supporting educational enhancement programs, and social, political and economic awareness activities throughout Prince George’s County to benefit our students and residents.
Ron’s history of community service is long standing, in particular, support to our county’s youth. He served as the District Chairman of the Prince George’s County Boy Scouts of America for 2008-2009, and in 2008 started a County-Wide Mentoring Initiative called “Connecting Generations” targeted for at-risk youth within the county.
Ron has a deep love for science and technology and from his own resources, donated $11,500 worth of Computer Networking Equipment to Prince George’s County Schools (Click Video – Giving).
Ron also served as a member of Project Lead The Way (PLTW). PLTW was a joint program established between Lockheed Martin and Charles Herbert Flowers HS to encourage students to pursue studies in engineering. This strategic effort which supports the county‟s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum resulted in a $13,000 grant
He was the founder of the PAWS Mentoring Program (Pals Achieving Weekly Success) in Montgomery County, and founder and Past President of Advocates for Cultural Enrichment and Education (ACEE) in New York State. He has also served as the former advisor of the National Society of Black Engineers for Morgan State University.
In 2017 Ron was sworn in as a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Bowie Chamber of Commerce. As one of the Directors, he is responsible for supporting local businesses and expanding the economic footprint of businesses in the Greater Bowie Area. He is currently the Chairman of Membership.
Also in 2017, Ron was elected to the prestigious position of Board of Directors of the Bowie State University Foundation. The Bowie State University Foundation, Inc. (BSUF) is a 501(c)3 public, non-profit corporation existing under and by virtue of the laws of the State of Maryland. BSUF mission is to facilitate fund-raising efforts that seek from private sources contributions in support of the activities and mission of Bowie State University. Ron has already made his mark by establishing an endowment fund and to date has raised over $7,000.
As a Morgan State University undergraduate, Ron joined the ROTC and was a member of the “Rangers Battalion”. After graduation, he received a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves and served 15 years as a Signal Officer with the 5th Brigade, 78th Division (TS) located in Fort Meade, Maryland. He served as the direct Supervisor of a Brigade Signal Corps Platoon that created combat scenarios designed to evaluate military units and Commanders in Wartime Communication Readiness. He served a 9 month tour of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He left military duty in 2006, honorably discharged.
Today he is a lifetime member of the American Legion, Disney-Bell Post 66 in Bowie Maryland.
Ron is President of Watson Management Corporation, a locally based business management consulting company, which provides support to the Department of Defense (DOD) and other government agencies in Business Operations, Program Management, Quality Assurance, and Process Improvement. Ron has been working as a consultant to the DOD for over 28 years.
- PhD – Systems Science, Binghamton University, 1999
- MBA – Business, George Washington University, 2002
- MS – Advanced Technology, Binghamton University, 1993
- BS – Electrical Engineering, Morgan State University, 1991
- Command & General Staff College (CGSC), US Army, 2004
Thanks to the nomination by Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and Councilwoman Ingrid Turner of Bowie, Ron was selected to attend the 2008 class of LEADERSHIP MARYLAND. Only 50 state-wide participants are selected each year for this honor.
Leadership Maryland, an independent, educational leadership development organization, informs top level executives from the public and private sectors about the critical issues, challenges and opportunities facing the State of Maryland, and its regions. After participating in a broad range of experiences, these statewide leaders are prepared to address these issues and serve as important participants in the unified effort to shape Maryland’s future (www.LeadershipMD.org).
- Member, First Baptist Church of Glenarden
- Member, American Legion – Disney-Bell Post 66, Bowie MD
- Lifetime member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Hyattsville/Landover (MD) Alumni
- Prince Hall, F&AM
- Member, NAACP of Prince George’s County