Governor fills 3 vacancies on county school board finally

July 21, 1992|By Monica Norton | Monica Norton,Staff Writer

The photo that accompanied yesterday's story on Gov. William Donald Schaefer's appointments to the county Board of Education was not of new student board member Jay Wichter. Mr. Wichter is pictured at right.

Joseph H. Foster and Michael A. Pace were appointed to five-year terms on the county Board of Education by Gov. William Donald Schaefer yesterday. The governor also made official the appointment of Jay Witcher, a Glen Burnie High School senior, to serve a one-year term as the board's voting student member.

"I am pleased with the number of candidates that applied for these positions," Mr. Schaefer said in a written release. "It shows that we have a citizenship in this state that cares about the education of our kids."


Mr. Pace, who said he learned of his appointment when the governor's office called him yesterday morning, said he was "honored by the appointment and looking forward to my work on the board."

The 45-year-old Edgewater attorney, one of the architects of O. James Lighthizer's successful run for county executive in 1982, said he had a "list of 17 or 18 goals" as a board member. But he

declined to speak of them publicly until he'd had a chance to sit on the board.

Despite the timing of the appointments, which had been expected before the end of June, the new board members' terms officially began July 1. They will attend their first board meeting Aug. 5.

That timing became an issue for the school board at its July 1 meeting, when sitting members had yet to decide on a new superintendent and wanted to swing a split vote in one direction or another.

Board member Jo Ann Tollenger tried to have student board member Miecha Werwie declared ineligible to vote, since her term technically ended June 30. Others argued the student member should remain on the board until the governor made his appointments. She remained on the board, and former Deputy Superintendent C. Berry Carter was picked as superintendent.

Mr. Foster, 48, will fill the District 32 seat, while Mr. Pace will serve as one of three at-large board members. The two men are replacing Nancy Gist, who represented District 32, and Paul Greksa, who held an at-large seat. Both decided not to seek reappointment.

"The people selected for the vacant positions all have a lot to offer," Mr. Schaefer said.

The governor followed the recommendations of County Executive Robert R. Neall, who only partially followed the recommendations of the county's School Board Nominating Convention.

In May, delegates from the convention, representing church, school and civic groups, selected Mr. Foster and Margarett Whilden as their top choices out of 15 candidates seeking appointment to the board. Mr. Pace was selected as a runner-up to Ms. Whilden for an at-large position.

The convention submits the names of the top two finishers for each vacant position.

Late last month, Mr. Neall sent a letter to the governor recommending Mr. Foster and Mr. Pace for the vacancies. In that letter, the county executive included no reason why he chose Mr. Pace over Mrs. Whilden.

Mr. Foster, an information systems manager at Westinghouse Corp., is from Linthicum. He has two sons in the county school system. Mr. Pace, a former school teacher, has served as an adviser to both Mr. Neall and former County Executive Lighthizer. He has three children in the school system.

Student board member Jay Witcher, 16, received a majority of votes from high school delegates last March at the annual meeting of the Chesapeake Regional Association of Student Council. He ran against two other candidates.

He will be filling the seat left vacant by former student member Werwie, a graduate of Southern High School.

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