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Three School Board members take oath of office

December 04, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - New Washington County Board of Education members Russell Williams and Jacqueline Fischer were sworn in Tuesday night, along with returning board member Paul Bailey.

Bailey, who retained his seat on the School Board, began his second four-year term.

Williams and Fischer each pledged to improve education for students and teachers.

The only other business conducted Tuesday night was the election of Bernadette Wagner as School Board president and Bailey as vice president.

Wagner, and School Board members Roxanne Ober and Edward Forrest were not on the ballot because their terms were not up.

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"I remember when I was a teacher, I never felt there was enough communication between teachers and the School Board," Fischer said. "I want to change that."

Now that she has attended numerous work sessions as a spectator, Fischer said she has a better understanding of how things work and how they don't.

Williams has put even more time into preparation for his new four-year term.

"For the past three years, I have probably attended 55 to 60 meetings and expressed my opinions on a number of issues," he said.

As a member of the School Board, Williams said he feels he can put his experience to work in a more useful way.

"I want to make sure the School Board proceeds in rational ways and that teachers are recognized as the key to the system," Williams said.

Bailey said the next four years will be challenging for the seven-member School Board, which is short one member due to the election of former member Doris Nipps as a Washington County Commissioner.

"The governor will appoint the seventh member," Bailey said. "Recommendations for that position will go to the governor from Washington County."

Elizabeth Morgan, superintendent of Washington County Public Schools, said the school system is at a crossroads.

"These new members, as well as the veterans, really have a chance to do great things for our students," she said.

Bailey said the challenges he sees include the new high school assessments, the potential for redistricting and adherence to the federal program known as No Child Left Behind.

"The enthusiasm of our new members will work with the experience of those veterans on the School Board," Bailey said. "There is a lot to learn."

School Board members Mary Wilfong and Herb Hardin did not seek re-election.

School Board members earn $4,800 a year.

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