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School board, employees at wisp for training session

June 21, 1999|By BRUCE HAMILTON

As most staff members headed west Monday for a three-day training session in Garrett County, the Washington County Board of Education's Central Office was almost as empty as its schools.

School Board employees are attending the 1999 Leadership Development Institute, which continues today at the Wisp Mountain Resort Hotel near Deep Creek Lake in McHenry.

Schools Superintendent Herman G. Bartlett Jr. has said it is important to hold the session far away to prevent distractions and focus everyone attending.

Some disagree about the location. The decision to go to Wisp was never brought to a vote, according to School Board member B. Marie Byers. She said the session should be held locally.

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"I know these kinds of events are very important," said County Commissioner Paul L. Swartz on Monday. But he questioned why the sessions could not be held at a local facility such as Fairview Outdoor School.

Administrators who are retiring don't gain from the event, he said. Swartz criticized the "unnecessary expense."

Official cost estimates for the trip were not available from the School Board's accounting department Monday.

About 130 people are attending, including board members, principals, supervisors, coordinators and directors, according to secretary Robin Mulligan.

According to Schools Superintendent Herman G. Bartlett Jr., two nights lodging and seven meals will be less than $160 each. At $160 per person, the trip will cost $20,800.

The institute's objective is "to focus on students as our top priority and strengthen our role as leaders in the system," according to a brochure. School officials will attend several seminars, meet and prepare for fall and the future.

Monday's keynote speaker was Hal Urban. In his opening presentation, "Good News, Kind Words and Funny Things," he shared insights about the way schools mold students' attitudes and characters, according to the brochure.

This morning's speaker is educational consultant Dr. Cile Chavez, a former school superintendent at Littleton, Colo., who has 30 years of experience as a teacher and administrator.

"She inspires audiences with her empowering presentations on leadership, restructuring and the development of human potential," according to the American Program Bureau, a company representing several lecturers.

Staff will be able to pick from 12 other "breakout sessions," such as a presentation from Fran Shaffer and Karen Christof, of the Department of Social Services, about how that agency affects schools.

Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Teresa Flak will give a speech tonight titled, "Leadership in an Information Age," according to the brochure.

Employees will leave for Hagerstown Wednesday afternoon following a wrap-up session with Bartlett.

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