Brightman named to Board of Education



Donna Brightman was appointed Tuesday by Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley to fill a vacant seat on the Washington County Board of Education.

Brightman, 55, lives in southern Washington County and said she learned of her appointment Monday night. She was one of five applicants to fill the office left open by W. Edward Forrest, who resigned in April. Brightman topped the list of finalists forwarded to O'Malley.

Brightman said she has been involved in education advocacy for 15 years, including work on the PTA. She said she plans to blend her experience with the business community with her knowledge of education in the county.


"Governor O'Malley is proud to appoint Donna Brightman to the Washington County Board of Education," said Sasha Leonhardt, a spokesman for the governor. "As a local entrepreneur and a leader in the county school community, she will make sure that taxpayer dollars effectively support education."

Former Board Vice President Jacqueline Fischer and former board candidate Gary Nally were among the four names forwarded to the governor. Robin Schneider also made the list.

Brightman has served on several boards and committees, and lost last year in the Washington County Commissioners general election.

Brightman said she has been a member of the facilities and enrollment advisory committee for several years and is looking forward to working with the board.

"I have worked with them for years," she said. "I feel like I can be up to speed very quickly."

Brightman said she believes she will have to leave her role on the committee when she takes office.

"I'll take my background and information from serving, which will be a huge help," she said.

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 has called herself an advocate for the entire system.

There have been concerns of residents in southern Washington County and other rural areas, she said, about their representation on the board.

"I think this will allow them to feel they have a voice," Brightman said.

Board President Roxanne Ober said the board is looking forward to working with Brightman.

"I think we all look forward to having the seventh member on the board," she said.

Ober said she was unsure when Brightman would begin in her new role as a board member.

Much of Brightman's civic involvement has been in education. She was a legislative advocate for the Board of Education task force and Washington County Council of PTAs legislative liaison to the Maryland PTA.

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