Meet the 2020-21 SMOB Candidates: Vicky Kidder, Nick Asante


Graphic by Olivia Turner

The 2020-21 SMOB election process is underway and the official voting will take place virtually May 20.

Jillian Verity , Multimedia Editor

The final two Student Member of the Board (SMOB) candidates for the 2020-21 school year were announced February 12: juniors Nick Asante from Richard Montgomery High School (HS) and Vicky Kidder from Magruder HS. All MCPS students will receive an email with a link to the ballot where they can cast their online vote May 20.

The SMOB is a student-elected representative on the Montgomery County Board of Education (BOE) from any MCPS high school. The position has been in place since 1979 and was created to provide a voice to the students of the county through having a student representative in pitching policies, voting on legislation and striving to get their own ideas passed during their term. Students can visit the candidates’ websites, watch interviews and ask them directly about their policies via social media to become more informed about their platforms.


Vicky Kidder- Magruder HS

Kidder decided to run for SMOB after she saw the problems within MCPS, including an inconsistency with racial composition, graduation rates, and test scores, she said. She felt eager to bring change and to help the MCPS community. 

Some of Kidder’s goals during her potential SMOB term are to extensify the amount of mental health resources for students, which would mean adding more full-time school psychologists and mindfulness training for teachers. Kidder seeks to create equal access to all SAT and ACT preparation courses for all students provided by schools, and reduce school-produced pollution through introducing electric school buses, limiting plastic use in school lunches and installing solar panels in MCPS schools, according to her personal profile on the 2020 nominating convention voter guide.

“I admire how straightforward Vicky is,” senior RHS SGA secretary Kate Holland said. “There is no fluff; she says this is what we’re going to do, we’re going to make it right.”

Kidder has been involved in student advocacy since the eighth grade when she was elected as SGA president at Shady Grove Middle School. During her sophomore year, she joined the Montgomery County Regional Student Government Association (MCR-SGA) as a Special Elections Deputy and as a junior, rejoined as an educational policy deputy. She became the SGA Vice President of Magruder HS during her junior year.

Kidder views communication with students as a vital aspect to being the SMOB. She commends current SMOB Nate Tinbite, for his usage of Instagram and other social media platforms to communicate with students. Because students are not always aware of what the SMOB does, Kidder has expressed that she will utilize social media platforms and morning announcements in order to communicate with all MCPS students.


Nick Asante- Richard Montgomery HS

Since Asante moved to Montgomery County from Ghana 13 years ago, he has witnessed an abundance of problems within the school system, including failure to meet students’ needs, inequalities in the system and the student voice not being heard, he said, prompting him to run for SMOB this year. 

“If you don’t have someone representing you on the board, then I don’t think that’s fair,” Asante said. 

Asante’s goals during his potential term range from widening technology use to closing the achievement gap. Asante aims to launch a system where every student can have access to a chromebook at school and at home. He wishes to include vegan and vegetarian options in school lunches, introduce more project-based learning and fix facility issues. Asante sees the opportunity gap as a large problem in MCPS, and some of his solutions include adding free ACT and SAT programs, increasing the amount of bilingual staff members and expanding MCPS’s carreer pathway programs.

Before deciding to run for SMOB, Asante worked under the BOE at the Maryland Center for School Safety. Asante is also familiar with policy-pushing as he worked as the director for the MCR-SGA Legislative Affairs as well as served as Tinbite’s Chief of Staff.

“If you ever have a problem with a bill in MCR, he’s the first person to compromise and find a resolution” RHS SGA President senior Iqra Mohommad said.

To Asante, being SMOB means being the voice for all MCPS students, which means there must be effective communication between the SMOB and students, he said. Asante also plans to utilize social media, morning announcements and visit MCPS schools so he can better communicate with students and hear their thoughts and concerns. In addition, he plans to establish a student coalition at each school who will then report the issues students face at their respective schools.

Before it is time to vote for the next SMOB, students can begin learning more about the candidates and their goals for MCPS through their websites and even asking them directly on social media.