BOE members, candidates mull 2012 election

December 11, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE |

Two of the four Washington County Board of Education members whose seats are up for election next year said they intend to run to retain their board seats, while Vice President W. Edward Forrest said he will not run for re-election.

Board President Wayne Ridenour and board member Donna Brightman said they intend to file candidacy, while board member Justin Hartings said he expects to decide on a re-election bid by the new year.

The Maryland primary is April 3 and the general election is Nov. 6.

“One of the things I brought to the table was the fact that my kids were in the school system,” said Forrest, whose son will be a senior in high school next school year. “I just think it’s time for someone else to have the opportunity, not that I’d be a shoo-in.”

In the past 10 years, program offerings for students and the level of instruction have improved, Forrest said.

“I do think we’ve kind of plateaued,” Forrest said.

The new superintendent, Clayton Wilcox, knows there’s a lot to be done and it’s healthy for the school system to have a new set of eyes on issues, Forrest said.

The deadline to file candidacy for the four school board openings is Jan. 11, according to the Washington County Board of Elections’ website.

As of Friday, only one person had filed for school board.

Melissa Williams, of Smithsburg, filed in September. She retired in 2009 after working for the school system for 35 years, she said.

“I believe that I have a lot to offer the school system,” Williams said.

She said she has experienced the school system as a student, teacher, parent, taxpayer and administrator.

After first joining the school board as an appointee and then being elected to the board, Brightman said she’s seeking another term.

“My service on the board I take very seriously, and I’m hoping that the voters will give me an opportunity to continue working on their behalf,” said Brightman, a landscape designer who lives south of Boonsboro.

“Probably. Odds are yes, that I am,” Ridenour said about seeking re-election, adding “unless something crazy happens in the next month.”

“I’d like to see us continue to grow, and I’d like to be part of it,” said Ridenour, who lives near Williamsport.

“There’s still a lot to do,” said Ridenour, a retired history, government and economics teacher who is now a real estate appraiser. Ridenour is serving his second term on the school board.

Hartings said the holidays will provide his family time to decide if it can make the commitment the school board position requires. He has three children in the school system.

“It takes a lot of time to do the job the way I feel I want to do it,” said Hartings, who lives southeast of Keedysville.

“It has nothing to do with the job. I love doing it,” said Hartings, who is serving his first term on the school board. Hartings is president and sole owner of Biaera Technologies, an aerobiology-related technology company.

School board members elected in November 2012 will serve four-year terms and will be paid $6,100 a year. If one of the newly elected members becomes board president, the annual salary will be $6,200.

A salary bump kicked in for those members of the school board elected in 2010.

Currently, Forrest, Brightman and Hartings are paid $5,500 a year as board members and Ridenour, as president, is paid $5,600.

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