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Williams files for school board race

Candidate wants to advocate for poor

Candidate wants to advocate for poor

November 29, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY ? Another four-year term on the Washington County Board of Education would give Russell F. Williams the chance to continue advocating on behalf of poor and minority students, he said.

"I try to make sure that poor students are not being priced out of education," he said.

Williams, 64, who lives in Hagerstown, served on the board from 2002 to 2006, but he lost in the primary election last year. His name will appear on the ballot again in 2008. He filed last week to run in the Board of Education election.

The seats of four incumbents ? Donna Brightman, Roxanne R. Ober, Wayne D. Ridenour and Bernadette M. Wagner ? are on the ballot, but none of them has filed to run.

Williams and Sharpsburg resident Meredith Fouche are the only candidates to have filed.

If there are at least nine candidates, a primary election will be held Feb. 12, 2008. If not, all of the candidates who have filed will appear on the ballot during the Nov. 4, 2008 general election.

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Williams is a member of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, chair of the United Methodist Church's social concerns committee and vice president of the local chapter of the NAACP. He also attends monthly meetings that address homelessness locally.

'This is what I know'

Williams taught school for more than 30 years, most of it with Washington County Public Schools. When he retired in the late 1990s, he was teaching at Smithsburg Elementary School.

"Over the years, I've seen a number of things that made no sense," he said.

Those include the construction of open schools that have no walls between classrooms.

"I said, 'You'll be putting up walls very quickly,' and we're still putting up walls," Williams said, referring to the construction work to convert open schools to more traditional settings.

Williams says he has attended more Board of Education meetings than any sitting board member with the exception of Paul W. Bailey. Williams began regularly attending the meetings in 2000, before he was elected to the board.

"This is what I know," he said. "This is what I do well."

His advocacy on behalf of poor and minority students has been apparent in his participation in the board meetings. He often discusses topics dealing with equality in education, discrepancies in the treatment of some populations and the availability of certain opportunities for all students.

Deadline to file for primary: Dec. 3

Primary election: Feb. 12, 2008

General election: Nov. 4, 2008

Deadline to register to vote: Jan. 22, 2008

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