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Brightman tops list of BOE candidates

May 16, 2007|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN - A former Washington County Board of Education member and a man who ran for the position last year are among the applicants who could be considered by Gov. Martin O'Malley to fill a vacant seat.

Donna L. Brightman, who lost in her bid last year to become a Washington County Commissioner, beat out former board Vice President Jacqueline B. Fischer and former board candidate Gary E. Nally to be ranked as the best of four applicants to replace W. Edward Forrest. Robin Schneider also made the list.

Rodney M. Shoop, the chairman of the committee reviewing applicants, said he was impressed with applicants' enthusiasm for the position and knowledge of the school system.

A member of Washington County Public Schools' Facilities Enrollment Committee, Brightman said she is interested in helping the school system plan for future enrollment growth. The Knoxville resident said she also wants to build communication among municipalities, the county government and the schools.

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Though one of Brightman's concerns when she became active in the school system was the condition of schools in the southern part of the county, she called herself an advocate for the entire system.

"I don't think it's just Boonsboro or just South County. We need to be concerned about equity throughout the county," Brightman said.

Shoop said he does not know how long O'Malley will take to make a decision. The seat has been vacant since April 16, when one-time board president Forrest left because of the demands of a new job.

Shoop said O'Malley is free to appoint whomever he wants.

"It's completely up him. He can choose from the names we have forwarded, or he can choose someone else. It's up to him," Shoop said.

Brightman earned the highest ranking when the committee prioritized the applicants, according to a press release. She was followed by Nally, of Williamsport, who ran for the board in 2004 and 2006; Fischer, of Clear Spring, who fell short in a re-election bid last year; and Robin Schneider of Smithsburg.

Russell Williams, a former board member from Hagers-town, was not included on the list because he was on vacation and not available for an interview, according to a press release.

Fischer said Tuesday she is considering running for a seat next year. She said she would like to help oversee projects that began when she was a board member. If appointed, Fischer said she would be able to "hit the ground running," unlike other applicants who might need more time to learn the position.

Forrest's term would expire next year.

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