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Applicants explain why they want to be on BOE

May 10, 2007|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY - A committee recommending choices for the next Washington County Board of Education member started interviewing candidates on Wednesday.

Five people applied for the seat W. Edward Forrest vacated last month.

Committee Chairman Rodney M. Shoop said Gov. Martin O'Malley's office wants three recommendations as soon as possible. Shoop expects to send them next week. O'Malley will have the final say.

The committee will next meet with candidates on Monday at 3:30 p.m. at the school board office. The meeting is open to the public, Shoop said.

The Herald-Mail asked the nominees why they want to serve the remaining year of Forrest's term.

- Jacqueline B. Fischer, 61, of Clear Spring, a retired school teacher, said she is committed to education. She served on the school board from 2002 to 2006, when she lost a re-election bid.

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She said she wants to continue working on projects that started while she was on the board, particularly the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts. Fischer said she was the liaison to the project for 3 1/2 years and probably knows more about it than anyone on the board.

Fischer, who was the chair of the board's Facilities Committee, said she is keen on green, or environmentally friendly, construction, such as geothermal heating and solar energy.

· Donna L. Brightman, 55, of Knoxville, works with landscape design and project management for River's Edge Landscapes in Northern Virginia.

She ran unsuccessfully for Washington County Commissioner last year.

Brightman said she wants "to really try to coordinate a lot of the issues" that overlap the county commissioners, the school board and local municipalities.

One of the biggest, she said, is how the growing school district handles new schools, construction and redistricting. "It's an important protocol to work on collectively ...," she said. "We're making this up, as a county, as we go along."

· Robin Schneider, 42, of Smithsburg, is running for public office for the first time.

She said that, as a mother of four children going through Boonsboro's schools, she's been involved in the district in various ways. She has served as vice president of the Boonsboro Elementary School PTA and is a co-chair of Washington County Public Schools' Special Education Advisory Committee.

Schneider, who is studying chemistry at Shepherd University, said she wants to stop the school system from teaching students just to pass tests. She also advocates electing board members by district, not at-large.

· Russell F. Williams, 64, of Hagerstown, is a retired school teacher who served on the board from 2002 to 2006, when he lost in a primary election. He couldn't be reached for comment on Wednesday. Fischer said she believes he's on a trip and might not be back in time to talk to the committee.

· Gary E. Nally, 49, of Williamsport, ran unsuccessfully for the school board in 2004 and 2006. He also couldn't be reached on Wednesday.

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