Judge recommends that Juanita Miller should remain on Prince George’s school board
A Maryland administrative judge has recommended that Prince George’s County school board member Juanita Miller should remain on the 14-member board.
Judge Richard O’Connor wrote in an opinion issued Monday but released Thursday that Miller “did not violate any statute, policy, or bylaw” and performed her duties “competently in a distinctly hostile environment.”
In a brief phone interview while in Egypt, Miller said Thursday, “I’m elated. If nothing else, the truth prevails.”
Miller’s attorneys with MarcusBonsib of Greenbelt said they are “gratified but not surprised by this outcome.”
“It is clear from the thorough opinion issued by the Administrative Law Judge that he carefully considered all of the evidence in arriving at a well-reasoned decision,” said Sydney Patterson, one of Miller’s attorneys. “The charges against Dr. Miller should never have been issued and she is looking forward to having this matter behind her.”
A written appeal to the Maryland State Board of Education can be filed within 15 days of the judge’s decision. The state board will make the final decision to accept or reject the judge’s recommendation.
The judge became involved when Miller requested a hearing after the state Board of Education decided last year to move forward with the process to remove her from the Prince George’s board. She faced allegations of misconduct in office, willful neglect of duty and incompetence
The allegations were made by six current and former board members: Raaheela Ahmed, Edward Burroughs III, Kenneth Harris, David Murray, Shayla Adams-Stafford and Joshua Thomas, who are represented by attorney Brandon Cooper. Ahmed, Burroughs and Thomas are no longer on the school board.
Their attorney, Brandon Cooper, released a statement that said, “My clients are concerned about numerous, clearly erroneous ‘factual findings’ contained in the recommended decision and will ultimately trust in the State Board of Education to render a final decision based on the actual facts and the law in this case.”
Some disagreements surfaced publicly between those members and Miller after she was appointed in January 2021 by County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D).
Miller’s critics on the county school board accused her of making unilateral decisions, including Miller inviting an attorney to a closed-door session that was not approved by the board.
They were also critical of Miller for refusing to share the school board’s ethics advisory panel report, which accused the members of wrongdoing.
However, the judge wrote that no policy requires the chair to distribute reports “within any particular time frame. The individuals who were the subjects of the ethics complaints received the reports when they were completed, so no secrecy was involved.”
The Maryland Office of the Inspector General released a document in August, that concluded the Prince George’s school board ethics advisory panel “did not provide a complete and fact-based report.” During the eight-day hearing, the judge wouldn’t allow Cooper to ask additional questions on conclusions of that report.
Miller served as board chair until board members, in January, selected Judy Mickens-Murray to lead the body.
In a related matter, the state Board of Education dismissed charges last week against Adams-Stafford, Harris and Murray to remove them from the Prince George’s board.
They remain on the board although some of their colleagues sought to remove them based on a report nearly two years ago from the school board’s ethics advisory panel.