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Incumbent to seek another term on county school board

January 11, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

The six months since Donna Brightman was appointed to the Washington County Board of Education have been filled with talk of redistricting, new schools and legislative priorities.

While discussing her decision to run in the 2008 election to reclaim her seat, Brightman said one of her goals is to positively impact students, parents, teachers and staff at the "classroom level."

For parents, that means listening to their concerns and taking them seriously. For students, that means putting the learning back in education. And teachers can expect a blend of positive impacts in their professional environment and in their compensation for the job they are doing, Brightman said.

She said she will be filing this morning to run in the 2008 election. The deadline to file was today.

Brightman, 56, lives in southern Washington County and has 30 years of experience in business. She currently works with landscape design and project management for River's Edge Landscapes in Northern Virginia.

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Four of the seven seats on the Board of Education will be on the ballot. Sharpsburg resident Meredith Fouche, and former Board of Education members Russell F. Williams and W. Edward Forrest also have filed. Incumbent Wayne D. Ridenour and Halfway resident Margaret Ann Lowery also have filed.

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

Brightman lost in the 2006 general election race for a County Commissioners post.

Brightman was appointed to the board in May to replace Forrest, completing the remainder of his term, which expires next year.

Just last month, Brightman said she was unsure if she would make a bid for the elected office. But after evaluating her family and professional circumstances, she said she is ready to continue her commitment to the residents of Washington County.

"I wasn't ready to walk away from it," she said. "I've just gotten my feet wet."

Brightman, who is a member of the board's finance and facilities committees, said she looks forward to scrutinizing the board's budget to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent responsibly.

"Citizens need to know more about how our schools are being run and how we are spending their tax dollars," she said.

Brightman said one of the biggest challenges facing the county's school system is transparency. She said she is in favor of fewer meetings being held behind closed doors.

"Only those directly concerning personnel, land acquisition and some legal matters should be discussed in executive session," Brightman said.

Brightman has served on the home rule task force, served as Washington County legislative liaison to the Maryland PTA and advocated for a council of governments. She also has served on the school system's facilities, enrollment and advisory committee and chaired the Boonsboro High School's citizens advisory committee. She serves on the board of directors of the Antietam Creek Watershed Alliance.

Brightman and her husband, Courtney Hirsh, have two children who graduated from Washington County Public Schools.

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