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Student Member of the Board - Election Process

Updates for the 2024 SMOB election have been updated as of December 19, 2023. Additional items will be up dated as the finalists are identified.

SMOB 101 Event

MCR hosted a SMOB 101 event on November 17, 2022. During this event, students who attended learned about what the SMOB is, the role and work of the SMOB, how to become a SMOB candidate and the election process. Former SMOBs Hana O’Looney and Nate Tinbite  and former SMOB finalists Zoe Tishaev and Vicky Kidder were also in attendance to share their journey.



Meet the Candidates

The SMOB Nominating Convention was held on Wednesday February 14, 2024. The two finalists elected for the 47th Student Member of the Board of Education were Ms. Sam (Samantha Ross) and Mr. Praneel Suvarna. From a pool of eight students, Ms. Ross and Mr. Suvarna were elected by more than 400 voting middle and high school delegates who attended the SMOB Nominating Convention at Watkins Mill High School.

Ms. Ross currently serves as a member of the MCPS Well-Being School Safety and Districtwide Wellness Committee, the Social Studies Curriculum Advisory Committee, and is Chief of Staff for the current SMOB Advisory Council. She has served on the Maryland Center for School Safety Student Focus Group and is a member of the Montgomery County Regional Student Government Association.

Mr. Suvarna serves as the vice president of the Montgomery County Regional Student Government Association and is the junior class president for his school. His experiences include working with the Student Advisory Mental Health Board and MoCo for Change. He is also a certified presenter with the Maryland Association of Student Councils.

SMOB Candidates 2023.jpg

You can view the Meet the Candidates video to hear their views on different topics important to students. (Both English and Spanish captions are included.)

Here are links to the official MCPS SMOB Candidate Profiles so you can read to learn about each candidate.

Candidate Profile for Sam (Samantha) Ross - English (Spanish)

Candidate Profile for Praneel Suvarna - English (Spanish)


Candidate and Election Timeline

SMOB Candidate Nomination Filing January 3-25, 2024
  • SMOB candidate nomination filing closes on January 25, 2024 at 5 pm.
  • Candidate nomination form can be found in the SMOB Election Protocols (pages 33-34).
  • Completed forms should be scanned and emailed to Mrs. Shella Cherry, Director, Student Leadership & Extracurricular Activities at: 
Mandatory SMOB Candidate Meeting January 25, 2024
  • Will be held virtually from 6-7:30 pm.
  • Meeting information will be sent to all approved candidates.
  • Candidates meet with Special Elections Committee and the current SMOB to review the election process, protocols and expectations, and the job and current work of the SMOB.
  • The original nomination form must be postmarked by January 25, 2024 and mailed to:
    Montgomery County Public Schools
    Special Elections Committee
    c/o Mrs. Shella Cherry, Director, Student Leadership & Extracurricular Activities
    850 Hungerford Drive, Room 269
    Rockville, MD 20850 
SMOB Candidate Profiles Due Date February 2, 2024
  • SMOB candidate profiles should be emailed to Mrs. Shella Cherry, Director, Student Leadership & Extracurricular Activities at: by 5 pm to be included to in the SMOB Nominating Convention Candidate Profiles document.
  • SMOB candidate profiles must include:
  1. Student name, grade, school
  2. Picture
  3. Answers to 3 questions shared at the January 25, 2024 mandatory SMOB candidate meeting
Mandatory SMOB Candidate Nomination Convention Review Meeting & Rehearsal February 12, 2024, 6-8 pm
  • Will be held at Carver Educational Services Center (CESC) Auditorium from 6-8:00 pm.
  • SMOB candidates submit the following for review at this meeting:
  1. Copies of stickers, posters, flyers that will be handed out at the Nominating Convention
  2. Financial report (page 39-40 of the SMOB Election Protocols)
  3. Names and permission forms of the 5 members of the campaign team
  4. Presentation slides for Nominating Convention speech
  5. Speech talking points
  6. SMOB candidates will participate in a rehearsal of the SMOB Nominating Convention agenda.
SMOB Nominating Convention
February 14, 2024
(Snow date: February 21)
  • This experience will be held in-person at Watkins Mill High School.
  • Delegates will be selected at the school level.
"Meet the Candidates" Experience TBD
  • SMOB finalists participate in a recorded Meet the Candidates experience to include a question and answer component that all secondary students will view.
SMOB Candidate Nomination Filing January 3-25, 2024
  • Nomination Forms should be scanned and emailed to Mrs. Shella Cherry, Director, Student Leadership & Extracurricular Activities at: by January 25, 2024 at 5 pm.
SMOB Nominating Convention
February 14, 2024
(Snow date: February 21)
  • This experience will be held in-person at Watkins Mill High School.
  • Delegates will be selected at the school level.
Election Day April 17, 2024
  • Election polls open at 7:30 am and close at 3:30 pm.
  • Results will be shared with finalists and made public at 5:30 pm.
  • In the event of distance learning and an online election, the election window may be extended and elections results should be made public after 8:00 pm.
SMOB Swearing-In Ceremony TBD  

Overview of Election Process

The following is the usual sequence of events for the election of the student member of the Board of Education:

May – September

The MCR president designates the election administrator who chairs the special elections committee.

October – December

Membership for the special election committee is solicited. All MCPS students in middle school through grade 12 are eligible to be members of the committee. Each high school should have at least one student serving on the committee.


An informational meeting is conducted for students interested in learning more about the position of SMOB. Advertising and application materials are sent to high schools.

Students who are residents of Montgomery County, are regularly enrolled in a Montgomery County public school, and are either sophomores or juniors are eligible to run for SMOB. Filing forms are available through local student government organizations, the Student Leadership Unit, or on the Web. Candidates may nominate themselves or be nominated by others. The student leadership coordinator signs as the administrator after verifying the student's grade and enrollment in MCPS. Only complete applications submitted by the deadline will be considered. There is a mandatory candidates' meeting held at the end of January or beginning of February.

February – March

There is a selection/election of nominating convention delegates by local schools. If more than two SMOB candidates file, a convention is convened. Otherwise, half day town meetings are held. Either way, delegate selection/elections may be necessary.

Nominating Convention: During the nominating convention, there are two sets of balloting. The primary ballot narrows the field to half of the candidates. The second, preferential ballot, selects the final two candidates. If there are four or fewer candidates, only one ballot is needed.


Training sessions for local school election officials are conducted as needed (optional attendance). Schools can train student election officials by reviewing the movies and documents listed above.

General Election takes place on the last Wednesday of the month and every secondary student in grades 6–12 in MCPS is eligible to vote following all proper election protocols. There is also an "early voting" day approximately 5–6 days before the election to allow for students who will not be in school on election day (ex: 6th grade outdoor education).

Local student government support, assistance, and cooperation is needed to assure the success of the election each year.

Attention to the following is required:

  • Assuring that students are aware of the filing period, who is eligible to file for office, and who may nominate candidates.
  • Scheduling and administering the timely election of nominating convention/town meeting delegates.
  • Educating the voting population - airing the TV show, "Meet the Candidates," to all students and distributing the voters guide in multiple languages.
  • Conducting the election following all protocols on election day.


Special Elections Committee

Middle and high school students are needed to serve on the Special Elections Committee. This committee handles the logistical details for running the election of the Student Member of the Board of Education (SMOB), a public official. Evening meetings run October – May.

It is imperative that the SEC has representation from EVERY high school and middle school representation is HIGHLY encouraged. Schools could form their own committee for running the SMOB election and have these students rotate attendance at the county meetings. This would be a great way to get a head start on your school’s election participation and serve on the SEC. This important committee handles the election logistics of a public official and is one of the few real civic educational opportunities in which students participate. Please actively recruit students at your school to join the SEC! Student service learning hours are applicable.