Smithsburg woman running for county school board seat

December 29, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

Involving the community more in Washington County Public Schools tops Teresa Spruill's plans if elected to a School Board seat next year.

Spruill, 45, of Smithsburg, is one of 16 people who filed for four open slots on the Washington County Board of Education.

A primary election will be held March 2, at which time eight of the candidates will be eliminated for the posts. The general election will be Nov. 2.


With the new fees applied to youth groups using county schools and the recent placement of adult education programs in the hands of Hagerstown Community College, which will take some of the programs out of county schools, Spruill said, "I'm concerned that our schools are not a part of the community anymore."

She said it seems the "only thing our school buildings are used for is education."

Spruill, who retired from the U.S. Navy as a hospital corpsman and a chief petty officer, said she has some ideas on how to improve the community relationship with the school system, but has no concrete plans.

The mother of four grown children said she has not finished reading the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which aims to close the achievement gap between schools and make sure all students, including disadvantaged groups, are academically proficient, but said implementing it will be a major undertaking.

"Creativity on implementing it is certainly something we're going to need," she said.

Spruill, who moved to the county in 2001 from Jacksonville, Fla., said she thinks the School Board's decision to place student achievement specialists in schools is a "positive step forward" in implementing the act's mandates. Student achievement specialists track student progress on tests and help teachers understand where students fail and succeed.

Growth, however, in the county is something that needs to be addressed as the city schools are reaching capacity, she said.

"I've spoken to many teachers and there is a frustration in the system," she said. "I don't know if that's unusual."

She also is concerned that there are too many students attending HCC who require remedial math and reading classes - a problem she blames on the school system and one she hopes the federal act will help solve.

Spruill is a crafter and quilter who is "a concerned citizen" in the Cascade community. She is a member of the Washington County chapter of the Izaak Walton League and the Citizen's Emergency Response Team in the county.

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