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Edward Forrest says he has more to contribute

October 19, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

Editor's note: This is the second in a series of profiles on Washington County Board of Education candidates.




scottb@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Edward Forrest, president of the Washington County Board of Education, said he is seeking a second term so he and the other board members can continue addressing government mandates and other challenges.

"I feel there is more work that I can contribute to the board," the 41-year-old pharmacist said.

Forrest is one of eight School Board candidates selected in the March 2 primary to be included on the Nov. 2 general election ballot. Four seats are available on the board.

If elected to a new term, he said he would help maintain the school system's strengths, while also working on reforms mandated by the state and federal government.

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The strengths include having an excellent teaching force and a method in place for new teachers to be paired with mentor teachers, he said.

In a second term, he said he would put to use his ability to work on policies and knowledge of the intricacies of the No Child Left Behind Act. The federal legislation is designed to close the achievement gap between schools and make sure all students are academically proficient.

As a working parent, he feels he offers something different than the other board members, three of whom he notes are former educators.

The board members should come from a variety of backgrounds, he said.

Forrest said he is good at bringing groups to consensus, which he thinks is why he has been named board president twice during his four-year term.

Forrest said he is a proud product of the county's public schools, and his children - who are in eighth, sixth and fourth grades - attend county public schools.

After graduating from Smithsburg High School in 1981, Forrest went to the University of Maryland, where he met his wife, Kathleen.

When starting a family, they decided to move to Hagerstown so their children could attend Washington County schools, he said.

He and his wife later became active in the Old Forge Elementary School PTA. When the PTA president asked for a volunteer to serve on a committee looking at education legislation, Edward Forrest agreed to do so. He found the work interesting, he said.

He felt he could contribute to the community by working with the PTA and that work led him to seek election to the school board.

The most difficult part of the job as a board member is staying familiar with required standardized tests, along with their terminology and impact on the school system, he said. In recent years, the standardized tests given in Maryland schools have changed.

He has been pleased with the board's progress on revising the Master Plan, the school district's five-year strategic plan.

Coming Wednesday: Barry Harbaugh.

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