Samir Paul

Samir Paul is a teacher, problem solver, and organizer fighting to make sure his students and everyone else in Maryland get the same opportunities he had.

Samir Paul is an award-winning computer science teacher, a problem solver with private-sector experience, and a community organizer committed to expanding economic opportunity and helping sustain and reform public institutions. Learn more at By authority: Friends of Samir Paul. Michael DeLong, Treasurer

I'm extremely grateful to be one of 30 winners of the 2019 The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, which will pay $90,000 toward my JD at Columbia Law School. A law degree is going to be a great new tool in my "public service" toolbox, so I'm eager to spend a few years adding "attorney" to my list of problem-solving perspectives -- along with teacher, organizer, programmer, and immigrant son.

The fellowship honors immigrant excellence, and its alumni include former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Washington State Lieutenant Governor Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib, Artificial Intelligence scholar Fei-Fei Li, and a long list of other amazing scientists, academics, artists, entrepreneurs, doctors, and lawyers. Can't wait to join this very special community and to bring lots of new skills and dreams back home to Maryland.

“The PDSoros fellowship is trajectory-changing on so many different levels: the financial support, obviously; the 20-year network of fellow immigrant sons and daughters with big dreams; and maybe most importantly, the symbolic resonance of New Americans asserting that we are here, we love this country, we make it better, and we believe deeply in its abundance and opportunity."


Welcome to the #PDSoros community, 2019 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Samir Paul! Samir, who is the child of immigrants from India, was born and raised in Maryland and returned a few years after graduating from college to teach Algebra ll and computer science. The first photo is of Samir and our 2019 New York Times announcement in room 314 of Montgomery Blair High School, where he was a student from 2002-06, a teacher from 2014-18, and a teacher coach from 2018-19! In 2016, Samir was named Montgomery County Rising Star Teacher of the Year, and in 2017, the National Education Association identified him as one of its 30 Under 30 educators. Samir has been a proud member and leader of his union, the Montgomery County Education Association, where he has helped organize the county’s 13,000 teachers.


Samir ran for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates in 2018. After an insurgent campaign and a month-long recount, Samir lost by 12 votes out of the over 56,000 that had been cast. He will use the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship to study the law affecting public institutions and upward social mobility—in particular, questions of governance, administrative law, and the tax system. The second photo is of Samir and Columbia Law School Professor and 2002 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Bert Huang!

I appreciate the nod here in Adam Pagnucco's end-of-2018 political retrospective on an absolutely wild Montgomery County election cycle! I'm glad we made an impression and, of course, if someone mentions you in the same breath as Ben Shnider, you take the compliment and run.


"Best candidates who did not win...(tie): Ben Shnider for County Council and Samir Paul

"Shnider and Paul are two of a kind. Both are young, wonky progressives who preach smart growth, ran great grass-roots campaigns and had strong union support. Both unite progressive values with economic opportunity, proving that the two can and should go together. Paul lost a heartbreaker election for an open seat to newcomer Sara Love while Shnider came closer than most people predicted to unseating incumbent District 3 County Council Member Sidney Katz, who has been in county or municipal office for 40 years.

"Runners up: District 18 delegate candidate Leslie Milano went from a complete unknown to the darling of many district activists in just a couple months. Council at-large candidates Brandy Brooks and Chris Wilhelm for County Council ran as “Team Progressive,” collected many important endorsements and outperformed their fundraising. Fellow at-large candidate Marilyn Balcombe for County Council finished fifth and has a great chance to succeed District 2 County Council Member Craig Rice, who is term limited, in four years. Expect at least half of these six candidates to be elected someday."

Full retrospective:

Harvard Senior Becomes First DACA Recipient to Win Rhodes Scholarship | News | The Harvard Crimson

Reminder: Immigration is an Asian-American issue Two Harvard seniors — Brittany N. Ellis '19 and Jin K. Park '18-'19 — have won the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. Park is the first-ever beneficiary of DACA to become a Rhodes scholar.

Montgomery official embezzled $6.7 million from county, federal prosecutors say

Absolutely shameful abuse of the public’s trust. Byung “Peter” Bang, a former economic development official, pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court.

Francine started teaching in Montgomery County in 1957 — 53 years before my first year of teaching. Today I got to help her pick the candidates who will be best for our schools! Love working the polls.

Schmuck: Illogical regents decision holds everyone accountable and no one accountable at Maryland

Hold this coach — and me and all educators and all people trusted with the care of young people — to a higher standard than this. Board of Regents chairman James Brady talked a lot about accountability in a review of Maryland's "dysfunctional" football culture, but he ended up holding no one in a top leadership position accountable.

Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting: At Least 11 Dead and Gunman Identified

The Jewish community has been uniformly supportive even as this country has turned on immigrants and people with dark skin or funny names. It’s pretty heartbreaking and enraging to be reminded that my Jewish friends and neighbors still have to experience this kind of alienation and violence themselves. The suspect in the Saturday morning attack, identified as Robert D. Bowers, 46, was in custody, law enforcement officials said. At least 11 people were killed.

Here are Maryland heroes Brian Frosh and Chris Van Hollen introducing Marc Elrich for County Executive at the home of the indefatigable Lucy Freeman. It was a star-studded cast of co-hosts — Jane Merkin, Carole Brand, Bonnie Casper, Marcy Frosh, Leni Preston, Fran Rothstein, Sara Wolek, the D16 slate, and more. 17 days to the election!

Delegate Marc Korman


There is a lot of discussion about the Kirwan Commission, a panel looking at our state public education programs, and the changes it will propose to funding formulas. The Department of Legislative Services recently released a primer on how education funds are allocated today which you can read here:

As explained in the primer, there are a number of state programs but the largest is the foundation program, which ensures a base level of funding per student but is adjusted for equity among the counties and weighted for issues such as English as a second language learners, special education students, and impoverished students. Read more by clicking the primer.

The chart shows how various state aid programs are allocated currently, including public schools. Keep in mind that the chart is for operating dollars and does not include capital programs such as school construction.

How America Is Failing Native American Students

Thinking today about how we can celebrate Native communities and do better for (and with) them.

Here’s a bump for this piece from last year — Punitive discipline, inadequate curriculum, and declining federal funding created an education crisis.

Megan Srinivas for Iowa

My friend Dr. Megan Srinivas is running for the Iowa statehouse. If you care about building a strong Democratic bench outside of reliably blue states, she’s right up your alley. Check her out and consider supporting her campaign!

Our health care system was not always broken. I earned my medical degree at University of Iowa and have seen our system functioning. But with our current system, we're not taking care of our citizens, and that's unconscionable to me.

Maryland's highest court will turn over during next governor's term; whom do you trust to make the appointments?

STATE JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS ARE REALLY IMPORTANT: Last time there was a vacancy on the Maryland Court of Appeals (our supreme court), Governor Hogan didn't appoint a learned lower-court judge or respected law professor or powerhouse litigator; he appointed his chief lobbyist, a former legislator with no meaningful legal experience. (There is a difference!) These state courts matter IMMENSELY, especially in an era where the federal government is incapable of action and most real work is happening at the state level. The next governor will likely replace five of the seven judges on the Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, within the next term in office. While the affable Mr. Hogan is no Donald Trump, his appointees are unlikely to look out for the interests of all Marylanders.


No, Larry Hogan, this isn’t politics hitting a new low. It’s an organization courteously giving you a phonecall instead of immediately acting legally. There are many other school symbols to choose from: pencil, ruler, chalkboard, etc. Gov. Hogan chose a red apple to deliberately mislead voters based on Maryland State Education Association's longstanding and distinctive use of the symbol.

Instead, both...

• trying to hijack another organization’s hard-earned good will


• trying to act as though you are a good-faith actor being wronged

...are ACTUALLY much “lower” in terms of our collective political discourse.

Yesterday was my first event as a board member of the District 16 Democratic Club. I'm proud to support our Democratic nominees for the General Assembly -- Susan C. Lee, Delegate Ariana Kelly, Delegate Marc Korman, and my former opponent Sara Love. I just contributed to each one's campaign (and, while I had my credit card out, gave to civil rights advocate Ben Jealous and former teacher Marc Elrich for County Executive). Only 49 days to Election Day 2018!

“Look resolute but with just a hint of a smile,” they said. I call this “‘Blue Steel’ meets ‘Red Pen.’”

Seventh State

Thanks, Seventh State, for posting my note of thanks to everyone who lent a hand with the campaign:

The recount is over, and we came up short by just 12 votes out of over 56,000 cast. I am unbelievably proud of the campaign we ran. We built thoughtful, progressive policy proposals that sparked conversations across the district. We discussed those plans together on 31,543 doorsteps over eight months. And we inspired 11,287 voters to take a stand for the public schools our children deserve.

While it’s tough to lose so narrowly, the truth is that candidates like me – a young, middle-class, public school teacher and immigrant son with a funny name – aren’t supposed to come this close when running in a race like this. And in the end, we have a team of outstanding advocates for transit, women and families, and civil liberties representing us in Annapolis. Congratulations to Marc, Ariana, and Sara and to fellow candidates Marc, Joe, Nuchhi, and Jordan on a great campaign.

It’s actually hard to call this a loss. As we awaited results on election night, I looked around the room and was stunned by how young the room was. Outside of friends and fellow teachers, this campaign was was powered by high-school and college students, most of whom were working their first campaign. I can guarantee that a bunch of them are going to run for office themselves someday. I just hope it’s sooner rather than later. (Standing offer: I will come knock on doors for any of you when you decide to take the plunge.)

“Mr. Paul goes to Annapolis” would have been a satisfying civics lesson for my students, but “Mr. Paul showed me how to fight for what I believe in” is a pretty good second choice. To all of those young people: please please please continue to assert yourselves in our public life. You are light years ahead of where I was at your age, and if I could make your votes count double, I would. Thank you for blessing me with the gift of your time and trust and sweat and belief. When young people learn how to take take a stand, how to be part of a community, and how to fight for the future they’ll someday inherit, we all win.

For every old friend who wrote a check, for every new friend who hosted a meet-and-greet, for every young person who knocked on doors -- it’s impossible to overstate the gratitude I feel in my heart right now. I have spent almost a year asking everyone I know to help me in some way or another, and it’s been amazing to see people answer the call even right up until the very end. And, of course, I am deeply grateful to my parents, who left everything and everyone they knew to come to a country where this kind of thing is even conceivable within one generation.

It was incredibly difficult to run this campaign while teaching, and I am more tired than I’ve ever been in my life, including my first year in the classroom. So I’m going to take a break for a little while and reflect on what exactly the next phase of my advocacy should look like. But Maryland STILL has a once-in-a-generation overhaul of our school funding next year; young people are STILL being gunned down in our schools and on our streets; climate change STILL hangs over us like a guillotine; immigrant families STILL struggle to survive and to see themselves reflected in public leadership; and our economy is STILL oriented toward the past rather than my students’ future. So even though I won’t be the one casting votes in the House of Delegates next session, there’s plenty of work for all of us if we want to make this place more just, inclusive, and abundant.

I don’t know where this train stops next, but I will forever be grateful for the ride we’ve been on together.



By Samir Paul, teacher and former candidate for Delegate in District 16. The recount is over, and we came up short by just 12 votes out of over 56,000 cast. I am unbelievably proud of the campaign we ran. We built thoughtful, progressive policy proposals that sparked conversations across the district. We discussed those plans together on 31,543 doorsteps over eight months. [ 611 more words ]

I just gave to Samir Paul!

A #PaulAboard election update: We're currently down by 9 votes out of 55,581 cast in the race. With a razor-thin margin like this, we'll file for a recount so we can be absolutely confident every vote was counted. Thanks to everyone for your support. It's going to cost thousands in legal fees, so please do help if you can: Join us! Contribute today.

Wow! What a day. I’ve been floored by all the support from friends, neighbors, students, and family through this election. Whatever happens in the next few days, I’ll never forget the enthusiasm and passion of supporters who are #PaulAboard. Every single vote counts, and we’ll keep at it until we get a final result.

One handshake at a time

Samir Paul, MCPS teacher and candidate for Delegate for District 16, greets a voter about to vote in the primary at Whitman High School.


Proud to be endorsed by the gun sense advocates over at LEAP Forward!

Maryland votes TUESDAY in primary elections, and LEAP Forward is happy to be supporting the following list of candidates:

MD-06 - Aruna Miller

HD 7 - Allison Berkowitz for Delegate
HD 9B - Courtney Watson - Howard County
HD 11 - Jon Cardin
HD 13 - Larry Pretlow
HD 15 - Amy Frieder for Delegate - District 15
HD 16 - Samir Paul for Delegate - D16
HD 17 - Julie Palakovich Carr
HD 18 - Leslie Milano for Delegate and Jared Solomon for State Representative
HD 19 - Vaughn Stewart
HD 21 - Mary Lehman for Delegate MD 21
HD 31B - Karen 4 Maryland
HD 33 - Heather Bagnall for MD House of Delegates - District 33 and Tracie Hovermale for State Delegate-District33
HD 40 - Terrell Boston Smith
HD 43- Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman

For the full list of Maryland endorsements and for grades on sitting legislators, please visit

I just voted for myself!

(And for my students and for great schools and for immigrants and for the planet and for communities of color and for seniors and for women and for scientists and for entrepreneurs and for...)


Thanks for endorsing me, Greater Greater Washington!

“MCPS teacher Samir Paul has backed up his excellent response with real-world action and thus earns our enthusiastic endorsement. Paul has been an active champion for the Purple Line, phone banking, lobbying and even testifying on behalf of the project. He also took time from the campaign trail in February to testify for the Better BRT study, minting the trademark line “friends don't let friends build BRT without dedicated lanes."

“Paul's questionnaire response was exhaustive and exemplary, delving into details like WMATA strategic planning, public private partnership contract language, tax increment financing agreements, Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority grants, and much, much more.”

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Videos (show all)

Lessons from Maryland
Teacher Samir Paul speaks out against Trump's plan to arm teachers




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