Ikhide Roland Ikheloa, chief of staff and ombudsperson for the County school board, is retiring after working in Montgomery County Public Schools for 31 years.
“I’m very proud of my work there,” Ikheloa said, later adding, “I started with the school system before desktop computers.”
As chief of staff to the Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education, Ikheloa helped Board of Education members with policy, budgeting and management and with making sure they knew their roles as board members.
He worked in various schools, for the director of management and budget in MCPS’s Central Office, and for the Board of Education. Ikheloa’s first job in the school system was business manager for Gaithersburg High School, starting in 1987.
Board members said they were grateful for Ikheloa’s expertise in multiple categories, especially for the fact that he had worked in various levels of the school system, as this enabled him to have a better understanding as to budgetary decisions and insight for possible projects for the future.
“He [Ikheloa] has a wide range of experiences with MCPS and knowledge of how things run in the system both in schools and in central office,” Board of Education member Rebecca Smondrowski (District 2) said, later adding: “It’s especially valuable because he’s something we as Board of Education members really rely on.”
Judy Docca, District 1 Board of Education member, said Ikheloa’s expertise and calm demeanor helped keep the Board of Education in order, so it could run smoothly.
“I could tell by his responses to things, his thinking when problems arose, he was able to pull from his background or knowledge, items of information” and county, state or national regulations.
Docca said Ikheloa helped the board transition from focusing on the weeds to focusing on policy.
“I think it’s excellent that he worked in the school – he understands how the finances were in the schools,” Docca said.
Staff are responsible for looking up information that members of the Board of Education have questions about.
“The board has to go over the budget, so all the things that happen in schools are things that we need to know about,” Docca added.
“He knows what it’s like to work inside a school,” she said. “He used to work for Larry Bowers … before he came in and worked for [the Board].” Smondrowski said.
Smondrowski said Ikheloa was helpful at providing context and information. “He was skilled at storytelling, and he had an inviting smile. Members of the Board of Education will miss him when he moves on to his next job.”
Ikheloa will next work as chief of staff for County Council member Nancy Navarro, who formerly served as a member of the MCPS Board of Education.
He earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Missouri in 1984, and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in biochemistry from Benine University in Nigeria, his home country. Prior to working for MCPS, Ikheloa taught business and economics at the now-defunct Morris University in Tennessee.