Upper Moreland school board member to resign over ‘cis, white male’ comments

A school board director in the Upper Moreland School District will step down in January after saying the board shouldn’t elect a “cis, white male” as its president.

The Montgomery County school district on Monday announced Jennifer Solot’s planned resignation, noting she had made comments “that many in our community took offense to” during a Dec. 6 school board meeting.

“As a result of this incident, Ms. Solot has decided to resign from the board effective January 2, 2023. She wishes to apologize for her poorly chosen words and does not want to be a distraction from the great things happening in our schools on a daily basis,” Superintendent Susan Elliott and board president April Stainback said in a statement.

Like school boards across the region, Upper Moreland last week held an annual reorganization meeting to choose a new president. As two members were nominated — Stainbeck and Greg D’Elia — Solot said she had a comment.

“I believe that Mr. D’Elia would make an excellent president,” Solot said. “However, I feel that electing the only cis, white male on this board president of this district sends the wrong message to our community. A message that is contrary to what we as a board are trying to accomplish.” She added that it was “important that we practice what we preach.”

No other board members commented before voting 8-1 to elect Stainbeck — who Solot said had been “excellent” as president over the last few months — over D’Elia.

In their statement, Elliott and Stainbeck said the comments made by Solot, a board member of five years, “were solely hers and were not intended to represent the opinion of the entire UMSD Board of Directors or the district as a whole.

“Indeed, Board Director Greg D’Elia, who was the subject of her comments, says that he ‘supports diversity, but these comments did not further diversity and reflected poorly on our community,’” the superintendent and board president said.

They said that the district focuses “on nondiscrimination across our schools and classrooms,” and that in all staffing positions, “we hire the most qualified person for the position and do not discriminate.”

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