Wilfong leads school board voting

November 04, 1998

School Board

By JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer

The president of the Washington County Board of Education failed in his re-election bid on Tuesday, while the other two incumbents won two-year rather than four-year terms.

Mary L. Wilfong, J. Herbert Hardin, Paul W. Bailey, incumbent B. Marie Byers and incumbent Doris J. Nipps beat out incumbent Robert L. Kline and four other candidates to win school board seats in the general election, according to complete, but unofficial results.

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Kline, 68, mayor of Funkstown, failed to win a second term on the school board, finishing ninth in that race.

"The people have spoken. They don't think about what good you did do," Kline said in a telephone interview from his home.


Wilfong, with 14,759 votes, was the top vote getter, just as she had been in the primary. Wilfong, 61, of 16803 Petmar Circle, Hagerstown, co-owns Martin's Fine Furniture.

"I'm just very appreciative of the voters in Washington County," especially in light of negative publicity she received recently, Wilfong said in a telephone interview from her home.

Some people had been concerned that Wilfong hadn't registered to vote until she launched her campaign in June. Wilfong, a Mennonite, has said her religious beliefs kept her from registering to vote.

"I guess it's heartwarming to know that the people can believe in your honesty and your integrity and your abilities and your service to the community and that will outweigh the negative publicity," Wilfong said.

Retired school administrators Hardin and Bailey finished second and third with Hardin getting 14,387 votes and Bailey receiving 12,802 votes.

"I'm pleased with where I stand. I'm glad to see we have a balance of some new people and some experienced people," Hardin said in a telephone interview from his home.

Hardin, 63, of 19727 Meadowbrook Road, Hagerstown, is a former Williamsport High School principal.

In a telephone interview from his home, Paul Bailey said, "I'm just very pleased. For the first effort at elected office, I'm very appreciative of those who considered me. I just want to ... go to work and do the best job that I can."

Bailey, 64, of 840 Kenly Ave., Hagerstown, is a former principal, director of middle schools, and, most recently, director of curriculum before he retired last year.

Byers, who has been on the school board since 1970 when she was an appointed member and who was the top vote-getter in 1994's school board race, came in fourth with 12,623 votes.

"This is exciting. I'm very pleased with voter support and most pleased I'll be able to continue my national position as northeast region director for the National School Boards Association," Byers said in a telephone interview from her home.

"I think the new board has new challenges that they will have to work very closely addressing," said Byers, 63, of 262 Potomac Heights, Hagerstown.

The size of the school board will increase from five to seven members on Dec. 1 when the newly elected members are sworn in to join members Edwin Hayes and Andrew Humphreys.

The top three vote-getters will serve four-year terms and the next two highest vote-getters will serve two-year terms.

Byers said she was still optimistic she would win a four-year term once the absentee ballots are counted. If not, she said, she would work as hard as ever.

Nipps, 46, of 20236 American Way, Hagerstown, won a second term on the school board by claiming the fifth seat with 12,440 votes. She is assistant director of assisted living at Williamsport Retirement Village.

In a telephone interview from her home, Nipps said she hoped to hang onto the fifth seat once absentee ballots are counted.

"That still gives me a seat back on the board of education for the next two years ... I'm just pleased to be back on the board again," she said.

Absentee ballots will be counted starting at 10 a.m. on Thursday in the master's hearing room on the second floor of the Washington County Courthouse Annex.

Besides Kline, other unsuccessful candidates were:

- David L. Resh Jr., 56, of 12913 Lauren Road, Hagerstown, who finished sixth with 11,796 votes.

- W. Gordon Crabb, 68, of 20422 Holt Circle, Hagerstown, who finished seventh with 11,479 votes.

- William R. Cunningham, 63, of 1016 Oak Hill Ave., Hagerstown, who finished eighth with 10,690 votes.

- Lenora Barnhart, 42, of 11118 Glenside Ave., Hagerstown, who finished 10th with 10,346 votes.

Board members will make $4,800 a year and the president will make $4,900 a year.

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