Field narrowed in School Board race

September 13, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - One incumbent on the Washington County Board of Education did not receive enough votes during Tuesday's primary election to advance to November's general election.

Board Member Russell F. Williams received 3,248 votes and was the eighth-highest vote-getter, according to complete but unofficial results from the Board of Elections.

The following six candidates advance to the general election: Paul W. Bailey, Ruth Anne Callaham, Jacqueline B. Fischer, Wayne M. Kretzer, Virginia Powers and William H. Staley.

They will compete for three open seats on the board in the Nov. 7 general election.

"I gave it my best shot," Williams said Tuesday night. "If I lose, my minister has lots of tasks for me."


Williams, who has served one term on the board, is actively involved as a volunteer at the REACH cold weather shelter and is an officer in the NAACP. He is also involved in several other community and church activities.

Ruth Anne Callaham, 56, of Hagerstown, was the top vote-getter during Tuesday's primary election.

She has served as executive director of the local nonprofit Food Resources, a food collection and distribution program. She worked with the federal government for 23 years and has been an educator for 30 years. She holds teaching certificates in three states, including Maryland.

"It's nice to see your name at the top, but it's not over until it's over," she said. "What I heard most often was that I seemed prepared. It's an education-focused spot, and people were telling me I'd done my homework."

William H. Staley, 61, of Cearfoss, made his first bid for a spot on the Board of Education in 2004. He taught subjects like welding for 25 years in the Washington County school system. He advocates that courses like welding, plumbing and carpentry should be included as choices for students.

"I think I did pretty good running against incumbents," Staley said. "The message I have of course is that we need change in our Board of Education, and it will not happen as long as the same people are re-elected."

Paul W. Bailey, 72, of Hagerstown, has served two four-year terms on the Washington County Board of Education. Bailey was a science and math teacher in Washington County before becoming a counselor and then a principal. He also served as director of middle schools in the county.

Virginia Powers, 46, of Hagerstown, has been an investigator with the Washington County Office of the State's Attorney for 11 years. Before that, she served as a county District Court commissioner and an officer with the Hagerstown Police Department.

Jacqueline B. Fischer, 60, of Clear Spring, is seeking a second four-year term on the Washington County Board of Education. She taught English and journalism in Washington County schools, and was a substitute teacher for two years.

Wayne Kretzer, 38, of Hagerstown, works at the Food Lion Distribution Center in Chambersburg, Pa. He has competed in track and coached the sport for more than 20 years.

There are 968 absentee ballots that will be counted Thursday. Voters can return absentee ballots through Sept. 20.

The salary for newly elected board members will be $5,600 annually, up $800 from the previously elected board members' salaries, said Board President W. Edward Forrest.

Washington County Board of Education

Ruth Anne Callaham 6,949

Paul W. Bailey (i)6,210

William H. Staley 5,070

Jacqueline B. Fischer (i)4,371

Virginia Powers 3,850

Wayne M. Kretzer Jr. 3,662

Gary E. Nally 3,464

Russell French Williams (i)3,248

Tom Janus 2,954

Gerard T. Kendle 2,330

With 50 of 50 precincts reporting

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