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Forum for potential board candidates attracts few prospects

June 15, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

A forum for Washington County Board of Education hopefuls attracted just enough participants to fill the seats that will be open this fall.

Of the three participants, only two formally have filed to run for three open positions.

Candidates Ruth Anne Callaham and Russell F. Williams, who is finishing up his first term on the board, joined Paul W. Bailey, a two-term board member, for a discussion Wednesday about the board members' roles and responsibilities.

According to a presentation by Kitty Blumsack, director of board development for the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, new board members sometimes struggle to separate their responsibilities from the superintendent's duties. Board members must keep in mind the big picture and the needs of all children, and they must allow the school system to do its work without interference, Blumsack said.

The presentation, which was open to anyone interested in serving on the board, was offered as a free service to the school system, which belongs to the state boards association.

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As of Wednesday afternoon, only Callaham and Williams had filed for the election, which is Nov. 7. The deadline to file is July 3.

Blumsack told would-be board members they will have no power unless they are meeting as a body to vote on the issues that come before them. Good board members go to all board meetings, and they do their homework, she said.

Callaham, who asked at the session what motivates people to serve on boards, said after the meeting she appreciated Blumsack's presentation.

The session showed her she can make a positive impact on children's educations, she said.

A former teacher, Bailey said he still is considering whether to run.

Reached by phone Wednesday night, board Vice President Jacqueline B. Fischer, who also is coming to the end of her term, said she is leaning toward running, but has not made a decision.

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