Board of education candidates boast diverse resums

October 31, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY - The six candidates competing for three open seats on the Washington County Board of Education have cited different reasons why they are qualified for the job.

Some tout their experience in education and on the board. Others see their fresh ideas as positive qualities.

Here is a look at each of the candidates:

Paul W. Bailey, 72, of Hagerstown, is seeking his third four-year term on the Board of Education. He has worked in education for about 46 years.

He was a science and math teacher in Washington County before becoming a counselor and a principal. He served as director of middle schools in the county and retired in 1997.

Bailey said his ability to work with his fellow board members is one reason the county's voters should re-elect him.

"Being a single-issue candidate does not get it done unless they have some skills in working with others ... working with board members," he said. "I enjoy solving problems and working with my fellow board members collaboratively."


Bailey said he's been successful taking a leadership role in helping the board reach consensus on various issues.

Ruth Anne Callaham, 57, of Hagerstown, said that though she has lived in Washington County for more than 30 years, one of her strengths may be that is not originally from the area.

She grew up in Texas and received her education there. She has been an educator for 30 years and has held teaching certificates in three states, including Maryland.

Since 2003, Callaham has served as executive director of the local nonprofit Food Resources, a food collection and distribution program.

"First and foremost, I know what it is to run an operation to budget," Callaham said. "I understand revenue stream and how to increase funding for the most important projects."

She worked with the federal government for 23 years. Callaham said she is familiar with government operations through her work on several boards of directors and is a team player, able to reach consensus with fellow board members.

Jacqueline B. Fischer, 60, of Clear Spring, is seeking her second term on the Board of Education. Before being elected, she taught in Washington County schools for more than 30 years and was a substitute teacher for two years.

"I know the system from the inside and also have the experience of serving on the board," Fischer said.

She said, through her work as chairperson of the facilities committee, she has been able to lead the effort to draft a comprehensive mitigation plan. She's also been a liaison for the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts that is scheduled to open in 2008.

"I would like to continue to see (these) through," Fischer said. "Four years just isn't enough to accomplish what (I) would like to do."

Wayne M. Kretzer Jr., 38, of Hagerstown, said he has been involved in the community for years and is a 1986 graduate of Boonsboro High School.

He has run track and coached the sport locally for more than 20 years. He began coaching track and field after graduation, first as a volunteer. Kretzer began spending more time coaching in the early 1990s and now organizes local races.

Kretzer works at the Food Lion Distribution Center in Chambersburg, Pa., where he mainly handles ordering.

"I feel I have a lot of ideas to bring to the Board of Education," Kretzer said.

Virginia Powers, 47, of Hagerstown, has 27 years of criminal justice experience and has been an investigator in the Washington County Office of the State's Attorney for the past 11 years. Before that, she served as a county District Court commissioner and an officer with the Hagerstown Police Department.

"As far as investigative things, I think I've certainly done it all," Powers said.

In early September, Powers visited four high schools and one elementary school. Two had minimal security and three had none at all, she said.

"I recognize the lack of security in the schools just by making a visit," she said.

Powers said her work experience also has allowed her to work with community, state and county agencies.

William H. Staley, 62, of Hagerstown, taught subjects like welding for 25 years in the Washington County School system. Staley, a lifelong county resident, said he also taught for about 30 years at Hagerstown Community College.

His background qualifies him to speak on one of his main election issues - bringing trades courses back for the county's students.

Staley retired from teaching about six years ago. He also worked for 35 years in the building trades as a welder and plumber. He has been president of several community organizations, which have taught him excellent organizational skills.

"I have a diverse background," Staley said.

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