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BOE candidate wants to see school system working as a team

July 06, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN

He saw Iraqis vote and hold up their purple, ink-stained fingers with pride.

"The pride they had for them to vote ... we take that for granted here," said Gerard Kendle, 41, of Hagerstown.

After witnessing thousands of people vote during a five-month stint in Iraq last year with the U.S. Air Force, Kendle said he was moved to take a more active role in local government. He filed June 28 to run for a seat on the Washington County Board of Education.

Kendle has been an officer with the Hagerstown Police Department for more than 12 years, he said.

He was on active duty with the U.S. Air Force from 1984 to 1988.

Since 1989, he has been in the West Virginia Air National Guard, where he is now a first sergeant.

This is Kendle's first bid for elected office, he said.

"Last year, when I was deployed to Iraq, I spoke with people there, and it just really came across to me what citizenship is," he said. "Every citizen needs to be involved."

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Kendle said he would like to see the Board of Education focus on long-term goals and concentrate on student responsibility.

"I don't think kids understand responsibility," he said.

Kendle said he believes Elizabeth Morgan, the Washington County Public Schools superintendent, is moving the county's schools in a good direction. If elected, he said, he would like to seek more funding at the state and county level.

He hopes to accomplish these things with the entire school system working together.

"Everything I like to do, I like to do as a team," Kendle said. "I'd like the whole school system to work together as a team, with everyone working toward one goal."

One of those goals is for students to excel. Part of their achievement, he said, should be an increased awareness of citizenship.

Kendle said he would like to see the number of community service hours students are required to spend outside of school increased. He said that of the 75 hours students spend on community service, 60 are earned while in school.

"Students are going to replace us down the road," Kendle said. "What do we want for our kids 20 years down the road? Where do we want them to be?"

Kendle lives in Hagerstown with his wife, Vonda, and his four children, who all attend Washington County Public Schools.

Three of the board's seven positions are up for re-election. Ten people filed to run, including three incumbents.

The deadline to file was July 3.

The primary election is Sept. 12; the general election is Nov. 7.

Seats on the School Board are nonpartisan.

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