Nine file for Washington County school board election

two incumbents do not

December 04, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Two Washington County Board of Education incumbents did not file to reclaim their seats in next year's election.

Board President Roxanne R. Ober and Board Member Bernadette M. Wagner will not run for re-election, saying they want to give other people a chance to serve.

Nine candidates, including two incumbents and three former board members, had filed as of Monday night, which was the deadline. They are Donna L. Brightman, Jacqueline Fischer, W. Edward Forrest, Meredith Fouche, Justin M. Hartings, Tom Janus, Margaret Lowery, Wayne D. Ridenour and Russell F. Williams II.

Because nine people filed, there will be a primary election, which will be Feb. 12, 2008.

The nine candidates are vying for four open seats on the board.

Wagner said she and Ober shared the same vision for the school system when they ran as a slate in 2000. Both will have served eight years on the board when their terms expire.


They were part of a team that made strides in improving students' achievement and creating more variety in programs for students, Wagner said.

"I hope that future board members will always put children first," she said. "We really felt like we were committed to school board service. We did not use it as a stepping stone to further our agendas or political agendas."

· Brightman, 56, lives in Southern Washington County and is a design and project manager for Rivers Edge Landscapes, a custom design landscape company in Virginia.

She was appointed about six months ago to serve the remainder of Forrest's term when he resigned from the board earlier this year.

· Forrest, 44, of Old Forge Road near Hagerstown, was elected to his first four-year term in 2000, then re-elected in 2004. He resigned to take a job promotion that required some regional travel that would make board business difficult.

He said his return to working in local pharmacies will allow him to return to serving citizens as their representative on the board of education.

· Ridenour, 56, who lives near Williamsport, serves as the board's vice president and is in his first four-year term.

Ridenour is a retired school teacher and a certified real estate appraiser.

· Fouche, 56, of Sharpsburg, works for Federal Express Smart Post in Martinsburg, W.Va. He ran unsuccessfully for the school board in 1988 and 1992.

· Hartings lives in Keedysville and filed Monday as a candidate for the board of education.

· Former board member Fischer, who lives in Clear Spring, was a school teacher for more than 30 years and was a substitute for two years before being elected to the board in 2002. She lost in the 2006 general election in her bid for a second term on the board.

· Janus, 65, of Hagerstown, was the last to file before Monday's deadline. He has run for a seat on the board twice before and was defeated in the primary election both times. He ran as a write-in candidate for the 2004 Board of Education election, but also was unsuccessful.

· Lowery, 60, of Hickory School Road in Halfway, retired after 16 years of working for the state in different youth-related jobs. Her most recent job was teaching for a year at Catoctin Summit Adolescent Program, a school for students with substance abuse problems.

· Williams, 64, who lives in Hagerstown, served on the board from 2002 to 2006 before he lost in the primary election last year. He 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.

Election dates

· Primary election: Feb. 12, 2008

· General election: Nov. 4, 2008

· Deadline to register to vote: Jan. 22, 2008

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