Nate Tinbite elected as 42nd SMOB


Photo courtesy of Nate Tinbite

Tinbite speaks to students in Mr. Rodman’s class on March 20. MCPS’s 42nd SMOB made an effort to get in touch with all students through social media, in school visits and other efforts coordinated with MCPS students such as MoCo For Change.

Will Cohen, Online news editor

Montgomery County Public School’s Student Member of the Board (SMOB) elections took place on Wednesday, April 24. Junior Nate Tinbite of Kennedy High School defeated Clarksburg High School junior Zoe Tishaev by a margin of 74% to 26%, with 85.19% of MCPS students casting votes.

The new SMOB assumes the critical role of representing student interests before the Montgomery County Board of Education, voting on collective bargaining, capital and operating budgets and school borders. One issue both candidates focused on was closing the opportunity gap found between student groups, and Tinbite had multiple solutions to offer during the “SMOB Meet The Candidates” video shown to students before voting.

“We have to expedite the Chromebook rental program to all of our students, because in 2019, whether or not a student has access to technology at home should never serve as a barrier to their success,” Tinbite said. “We also need to place an emphasis on quantitative literacy classes, because not every student will go to college, and it’s on us to make sure every student is prepared for financial success now.”

Many students at WJ found Tinbite to be the more appealing candidate as they believe he had ran a much more effective campaign than Tishaev.

“I voted for Nate because I think it’s great to show off our diversity as a county by electing an African-American SMOB,” junior Baasil Saleh said. “Also, I aligned with him about bringing opportunities to the less fortunate schools and students.”

Tinbite comes into the role with plenty of experience representing MoCo students throughout his years at Kennedy. He founded MoCo For Change, an organization focused on gun law reform, get out the vote efforts and increasing school diversity in MCPS, formed after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School. Additionally, Tinbite is the current president of the Montgomery County Regional (MCR), he served as the vice president of MCR last year and was on 2017 SMOB Matt Post’s chief of staff.

“Experience is definitely an important factor [for SMOB] because being put in the spotlight with no background knowledge about what to do when faced with adversity can be incredibly tough on a high school student,” Saleh said.

There was a questionable moment during the pre-election video where Tishaev spent time campaigning for improved cafeteria options, talking about limited options for vegans and vegetarians. However, she went off on a tangent about strawberry milk and cheese dippers that left many students merely taking this point as a joke

“It hurt Zoe because it doesn’t show a real issue that needed to be addressed. It makes it seem like flavored milk is more important than fixing the opportunity gap and funding issues,” junior Sydney Byron said.

In past years, students have viewed the SMOB to student body connection as weak and sometimes even nonexistent. Tinbite and Tishaev actively traveled around the county during their campaigns to get familiar with students from Montgomery County’s schools, hoping to get in tune with what students want out of their SMOB.