Sunil is an Educator and Parent
For the last 11 years, Sunil has taught political science and served as the Director of the Political Science Program for UMBC at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG). Nearly 90 percent of Sunil’s students have been Montgomery County Public School students who take the 2+2+2 pathway from high school to Montgomery College and finally to the Universities at Shady Grove.
As an educator and a parent of three students in MCPS high, middle, and elementary schools, Sunil observes the strengths and weaknesses of K-12 education in the county from multiple perspectives, which informs his advocacy for education in many forums and across several issues.
Sunil is an Education Advocate
Sunil has written extensively on local education matters, including the controversial boundary change debate and how to expand the home and school partnership. He has provided written and spoken testimony to the Board of Education and the county's legislative delegation. He has advocated on behalf of school improvement with the Board of Education, County Council, and Montgomery County state legislative delegation, and with the state legislature.
To revive direct home-teacher relationships, Sunil organizes monthly social hours around the county through the Facebook group Parent-Teacher Exchange, which now has more than 300 members. He also posts frequently about education matters on Twitter and Facebook.
Sunil has advocated strongly for youth mental health based on the understanding that wellness can powerfully determine academic performance. He has organized communities, raised awareness, sought to remove stigma, connect families, students, and staff with resources, including bringing Mental Health First Aid training, and building a coalition for youth mental health and wellness in the county.
Sunil organizes the Annual Mental Health and Wellness Forum for MCPS students, staff, and families. In 2020, over 300 county residents attended the forum. More information about the Forum is available at the MoCo Mental Health and Wellness Facebook group.
Sunil currently serves as a member of the Montgomery Planning Board's Schools Technical Advisory Team, where he helps with the Subdivision Staging Policy working to match development with school enrollment. He is part of a citizens' group looking at the county general plan, which is coming up for review in 2020. Previously he served on a Rockville City committee that examined school overcrowding and the development moratorium within the municipal limits of the city.
Sunil regularly advocates on behalf of families at meetings of committees run by MCPS on topics including screens and learning, child abuse and neglect, and family and student engagement. He also speaks publicly on these issues frequently. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
Sunil is a PTA Leader
Sunil serves on the Board of Directors of the MCCPTA, is Chair of the MCCPTA’s Health and Wellness Committee, and is an MCCPTA Rockville Cluster Coordinator.
In 2017-18, Sunil was PTA President at Earle B. Wood Middle School and was the winner of the 2018 MCCPTA Dad4PTA Award.
Sunil has served as the Chair of the MCCPTA’s Health and Wellness Committee since 2017. Previously the committee was called Health and Safety. As Health and Wellness Chair, Sunil works with and supports the subcommittees on School Nutrition, Safe Technology, and Substance Use Prevention.
Sunil Brings Professional Expertise
As the At-Large member of the Montgomery County Board of Education, Sunil hopes to bring together his community service and his professional expertise. As a professor and a researcher, Sunil developed solutions for complex problems of governance and public policy, a skillset we should require of any Board of Education member. He has worked with financial reports and budget documents, and has long-used data and datasets to inform difficult public policy questions. He can cut through seemingly intractable issues to get to the core of social and economic problems. These are critical issues for the Board of Education today.
Sunil’s professional interests include research on school funding and administration, as well as other questions of local governance and public policy. For the last few years, Sunil’s research has focused on civic empowerment and particularly family engagement with school systems. His research indicates that succession through nomination, as is done by the PTA— and other local bodies such as Home Owners Associations, civic associations, student government—limits diversification of leadership, since people can only nominate those they know. Based on these findings, Sunil started the Parent-Teacher Exchange to help broaden home and school networks and encourage new leadership to emerge.
At UMBC at USG, Sunil has expanded course offerings, reached out to underrepresented communities, and used technology to offer students more options for completing their coursework and graduating from college. He was among the first professors at UMBC at USG to offer online courses to make it easier for working students to take classes on their schedules. And he has moved the focus of the political science program to civic engagement and political empowerment. For example, Sunil teaches a course on Community Research, during which students construct a power map of their communities by researching three election cycles. Students identify their representatives from the top to the bottom of the ballot, find out who ran against them and collect information about their election platforms. Students then engage in a “six degrees of separation” exercise to understand their relative proximity to their representatives.
Sunil is a Parent, a Spouse, a Son…
Sunil lives in Aspen Hill with his wife, Elana Mintz, their three MCPS-going children, his mother, and their 75-pound dog. He helped his wife found a nonprofit organization, Urban Adventure Squad, which supports schools and school communities with outdoor-focused community-based learning programs. Urban Adventure Squad also advocates for education reform, including enhancing hands-on learning, increasing outdoor time, and expanding the use of free and low-cost community resources. Sunil and his family are members of Temple Emanuel in Kensington.
Authority: Friends 4 Sunil Dasgupta
Treasurer: Jamison Adcock
PO Box 9542 Silver Spring, MD 20916
Treasurer: Jamison Adcock
PO Box 9542 Silver Spring, MD 20916