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Spruill sees growth as biggest school issue

October 25, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

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




scottb@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Teresa Spruill comes to the Washington County Board of Education race with a different educational background than most candidates: She graduated from high school early after taking the General Education Development (GED) test.

The experience has made her more aware of discrimination against people who graduate after taking the GED and aware that some students need to take alternative paths, she said.

Spruill, 46, of Smithsburg, moved to Washington County in 2001 from Jacksonville, N.C.

Spruill is one of 16 people who filed for four open seats on the School Board. The eight candidates with the most votes in the March 2 primary - one of whom was Spruill - appear on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.

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In the fall of 1975, the local school board in Martin, Mich., adopted a new rule, which required any student who had seven or more unexcused absences to fail the semester, she said. She was a 17-year-old senior that year, she said.

She was planning to attend a close friend's graduation from boot camp in Orlando, Fla., and was going to have to miss at least seven days to attend the graduation, she said.

The automatic failure was a big issue to her so she took her GED exam in September 1975 and passed it prior to going to the friend's graduation in 1976, she said. Spruill said she graduated early without damaging her grade-point average and hurting her chances for college admission.

She earned an associate's degree in general studies with a concentration on business from Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1988, she said. She also earned a bachelor's degree from Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C., in May 2000, she said.

If elected to office, she would work to make it easier for Washington County residents who never finished high school to attend classes and complete their education, she said. One way to do that would be to provide opportunities in the local schools for adult students to help them reach their educational goals, she said. These classes could be sponsored and provided by Hagerstown Community College and Hagerstown Business College, she said.

She thinks the current Board of Education is doing a very good job, but she could add an outsider's perspective, she said. She also can provide knowledge of other school systems, she said.

Spruill said she decided to run for the Board of Education "because I think I can contribute to the School Board and the county and hopefully improve the education system."

The most important issue facing the county school system is growth in the county.

"Growth is the greatest risk we have right now. Growth, without funds being put aside for education, is going to cause our school to be more overcrowded and our students are not going to be able to receive the individual attention and the education that they deserve," she said.

If elected, she would encourage more activities in the county schools beyond the school classes, she said. She would like to see schools become the centers of neighborhoods, she said.

Spruill, who retired in 1998 from the U.S. Navy as a hospital corpsman and a chief petty officer, is the mother of four grown children. She is married and has three grandchildren.

Spruill is a crafter and quilter. She is a member of the Washington County chapter of the Izaak Walton League and the county Citizen's Emergency Response Team.

Coming Tuesday: William Staley

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