The Education Committee of the Faith Community Working Group, brings members of Montgomery County’s diverse faith communities together for understanding and respecting one another, and working collaboratively with Montgomery County Public Schools to enhance quality religious education, assure respect for all religious traditions and secure an environment free of discrimination, bullying and harassment.
The committee has made great strides in their mission thus far. Some examples are
- The development of an Interfaith calendar for MCPS.
- The publication of the “Guidelines for respecting Religious diversity“
- The creation of Parent Academies. – An ongoing series of workshops facilitated by the Education Committee and and the MCPS Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships (OCEP) which gives parents helpful information about navigating the school system including tips on excused absences, how to communicate with teachers and counselors regarding their
- concerns, tips on how to deal with and report bullying, and a discussion on how to self-advocate within the MCPS school system.
The committee also had a very successful forum (view video here) on religious diversity that brought together members of the education and faith communities to discuss faith issues related to MCPS students.
Updates on FCWG Education Committee Meeting with MCPS Board of Education to ensure “Safe Learning Environment” Click A Safe Place to Learn for video
FCWG Education Committee members Rabbi Batya Steinlauf and Ms. Lubna Ejaz, along with County Liaison Rev. Kaseman are engaged in a series of meetings with Associate Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Brice, Public Information Officer Derrick Turner, and Executive Director Denise Bracalilly Stultz, to discuss the best ways to connect with the families of MCPS who have concerns regarding the hate incidents and insecurity in the schools. We have been reviewing how material can be more easily found on the MCPS website, public forums for a discussion of how to report incidents and the ways the schools respond, and Parent Academy programs on inter-group dialogue and how parents can support their students.
Rabbi Batya Steinlauf, JCRC’s Director of Social Justice and Interfaith Initiatives, is a Conservative rabbi, ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1998. She is Chair of the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington and co-chair of the Montgomery County Faith Community Working Group.
Mansfield “Kasey” Kaseman is the Interfaith Community Liaison for the Montgomery County Executive’s Office. He has 40 years of experience in ecumenical and interfaith relations that includes founding and administering non-profit organizations, networking with all sectors of community life, serving on regional and national boards, and enhancing businesses through Corporate Citizenship.
Steven Adleberg was a principal in the Fairfax County Public School system for 33 years. Currently he is the JCRC’s Director of Education Outreach.
Richa Agarwala Ph.D. is a member of Chinmaya Mission Washington Regional Center and Hindu America Foundation. She is the Hindu representative on Faith Community Working Group’s subcommittee on Education for the Montgomery County Public Schools and participates in a women’s interfaith book club. Professionally, Richa has a doctorate in Computer Science from Iowa State University and did a postdoctoral fellowship in Mathematical Support for Molecular Biology at Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science. She is a senior scientist at the National Institutes of Health in the field of Bioinformatics.
Mumin Barre is a member of the FCWG Education Committee and Equality for Eid Coalition. He is the founding Co-Chair of the MC Executive Ike Leggett’s African Affairs Advisory and serves on the Montgomery County Sister Cities Board, Montgomery County Muslim Council, and Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee.
Fatima Durrani is a Senior Fellow at World Organization for Resource Development and Education (WORDE), and assists in writing and researching policy that helps communities throughout the world build resilience against violent extremism. She also creates programs to help engage diverse populations in cross-cultural and community service events at the International Cultural Center (ICC).
Fred Evans retired from the Montgomery County Public Schools after a successful 30-year career as former principal of Gaithersburg High School and Parkland Middle School. Currently, Fred utilizes his professional skills as an adjunct professor in the education leadership graduate schools of Johns Hopkins University and Hood College.
Mimi Hassanein currently serves as the Senior Fellow and Middle Eastern Community Liaison for Montgomery County. Mimi is also the Vice President of the Programming Committee for the Women’s National Democratic Club and an elected member from Montgomery County for the Democratic Central Committee for Maryland.
Harminder Kaur is a practicing internist in Clarksburg, MD, and belongs to the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation in Rockville. She currently coaches youth in a lead volunteer educational organization called Sikh Kid to Kid.
Jennifer Martin has been an English teacher in Montgomery County Public Schools for the past fifteen years, and currently works at Wootton High School. She also serves Vice President of the Montgomery County Education Association, a Maryland affiliate of the National Education Association.
Chris Murray is a Nationally Board Certified teacher who has taught in MCPS for 10 years at the high school level. He currently teachers courses in both World History and Comparative Religions.
Sabir A Rehman is the Interfaith Committee Chair for the Muslim Community Center (MCC). He is also very active with the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, JIDS (the Jewish-Islamic Dialogue Society) and the Greater Olney Interfaith Ministerium.
Farhana N. Shah is a Staff Development Teacher in Montgomery County Public Schools, and has been an educator in Maryland for 20 years. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor for Montgomery College (English Language), and provides professional development to educational institutes globally as a consultant. And she is the Community Education Series Coordinator for The Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, which seeks to educate its members with tools and resources to be active citizens.
Aman Shergill serves as an executive officer on the board of the Winston Churchill Educational Foundation in Potomac, she is an active delegate on the Executive Board of the Winston Churchill HS Parent Teacher Student Association as well as the Council Advisory Committee at Churchill. Aman is also supporting a local youth run non profit called Sikh Kid to Kid, building social and religious tolerance through education.