In this Q&A, Markus Batchelor (TMA ‘11) shares his experiences that led him to being elected as the youngest-ever member of the DC State Board of Education in 2016 and his continued work in the community.
- What was your experience attending Thurgood Marshall Academy?
I cherish my time at Thurgood Marshall Academy. It was the place I made lifelong friends, found and explored my passions, and got unimaginable opportunities to grow into the person I am today. TMA became and still is home for me. It was a place I constantly felt challenged, supported, and safe. Over my years there, I was Student Government President (twice — in SY07-08 and SY10-11), in drama club, and captain of the debate team. I even helped co-found a poetry club. My favorite memories include egg drop day in Physics, afternoon bus rides to Law Firm Tutoring, the creak of the old wood floors in the hallways and classrooms, and warm spring days in the courtyard.
- What was your journey to becoming the youngest-ever member of the DC State Board of Education in 2016?
After Thurgood Marshall Academy, I attended The George Washington University and left school to pursue my passion for public service — so much of which was nurtured while I was a student at TMA. I worked in government and non-profit on issues focused on youth and families, community service, opportunity, and equity. At 21, I ran for office for the first time. In 2014, I got elected to represent my neighbors as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner and in 2016 was elected the youngest-ever member of the DC State Board of Education, representing TMA and over 40 other school communities in Ward 8.
- What is next in your career?
In 2020, I ran citywide to be the youngest-ever member on the DC Council and, though unsuccessful, received over 19,000 votes, 5th place in a field of over 20 candidates.
January 2nd was my final day in elected office and I am excited about finding new ways to serve my community and advance the causes that have been important to me throughout my career. I am presently working at the Young Elected Officials Network, where I support young leaders representing their neighbors at all levels of government to gain the skills and support they need to make real and lasting change.
- Any advice for Thurgood Marshall Academy students who are interested in pursuing the same field?
Pay attention and take to heart the words that you pass below every time you walk through TMA’s doors: “In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.” Remember that every form of activism and public service is for a greater good, in service not just to yourself and your families, but to your neighbors and community. Remember that the reward of public service is not in personal gain, but collective gain.