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Montgomery School Board Adds Douglas Herring as a Member

By Barbara A. Preston | Posted October 19, 2022

The Montgomery Board of Education swore in Douglas Herring as a board member on Tuesday, October 18, to fill a vacancy left by long-time member Shreesh R. Tiwari, who resigned in summer. Ten individuals interviewed for the seat.

Douglas Herring is sworn-in as a board member by Acting Board Secretary David Palumbo.

Eighteen people applied to be interviewed for the position. The board narrowed it down to 10 candidates, who were interviewed for the position during a special meeting on August 31.

The board unanimously selected Herring from the following individuals, who also interviewed for the vacant seat: Nithila Peter, Agam Uphadhyay, Brian Cige, Ania "Anna" Wolecka-Jernigan, Alisia Bonilla, Michelle Dowling, Sarkar Ranajoy, Joanna Filak, and Craig Rothenberg. Current school board candidates appear in this paragraph with links to their profiles.

Because a background check is required before a person can serve on the board, it took until the October 18 board meeting for Herring to be sworn in, and to take his seat at the dais.

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The school board asked three questions during the interview session:

1. Please explain to us your understanding of the role of a school board member and the time commitment required.
2. What areas would you like to see strengthened in the Montgomery Township School district?
3. What specific skills do you bring to the board and please give examples of your ability in interpersonal relationships and collaboration?

Below is an excerpt of Herring's answers to the questions:

"The job of the school board is to ensure that the schools are well run. I think that is the essence of what the board is supposed to do. The board is the liaison to the community as well as to the schools to administer some things ... but in the end, they are there for oversight, to make sure the schools run well. The assumption is that Montgomery schools do. In terms of time, I think it varies. In recent times, the board has been here a lot. But, usually, between 10 to 50 hours a month."

"There is sometimes a feeling that the very top people and the very bottom people have the most services. Some in the middle feel a little overlooked. I think some combination of reaching out, and making sure that while we celebrate the accomplishments of the most amazing students, that we don't forget the vast majority of the students. To communicate that to the students [is important]. I have a middle schooler who does not want to hear from any adults, but, if they hear it enough from adults, that they all count, that's important."

"I think I'm good at communicating. That's what I've done as a living. I'm a criminal trial attorney, I was a prosecutor in Los Angeles, U.S. Attorney's Office in Middlesex, and now I'm a defense lawyer. I've spent 25 years explaining things to people. Trying to get 12 strangers [on a jury] to agree on anything is hard."


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