Carlesa Finney carried the voting at the Anne Arundel County School Board Nominating Convention last night, easily defeating incumbent school board member Vincent O. Leggett, but her campaign for a seat on the school board is not over.
Even though she got the most votes -- 113 -- at the convention, Ms. Finney still needs to obtain County Executive Robert R. Neall's recommendation, and then be selected by the governor, who makes the final appointment to the five-year term.
The convention's bylaws require that Ms. Finney's name and that of runner-up Elizabeth Greene, who had 33 votes, be submitted to the governor for his consideration.
In years past, Mr. Neall and Gov. William Donald Schaefer have broken with tradition and bypassed candidates nominated by the convention, sometimes selecting candidates who had not even been considered viable by convention delegates.
For example, when Mr. Leggett was appointed to the school board five years ago, his name had not been on the list submitted by the convention.
And last year, Michael A. Pace was the convention's runner-up, but he won the appointment to the school board.
"I have a very good relationship with the county executive, and I have worked with many of the county staff people so they know what I'm about," Ms. Finney said after the vote.
"I feel confident they'll appoint me."
A woman who asked that she not be identified told Ms. Finney afterward that "you touched a lot of people in there, and I hope the governor and county executive go with what we, the people, want. We will continue to pray from now until the governor makes the decision."
Another seat on the eight-member board, one that includes a student member, is up next year.
Of the five candidates who ran in the nominating convention's election, Ms. Finney conducted perhaps the most sophisticated campaign, with printed brochures featuring her picture and listing her resume and goals.
John Anderson, chairman of the Nominating Convention Committee, said Ms. Finney "added a level of sophistication to the campaign."
Ms. Finney, deputy chief executive officer of the Family and Community Services Division of the Anne Arundel County Community Action Agency, is the mother of daughters ages 14 and 4 years.
In her speech to the convention last night, she emphasized parental involvement.
"Parents must take back their children. We've given up the responsibility to experts," said Ms. Finney.
In his speech, Mr. Leggett, who placed third with 31 votes, said he knew there are "some things right with the system and some things wrong with the system."
"But I'm part of the solution, not part of the problem," said Mr. Leggett, who is now president of the school board. "I walk the walk and I talk the talk."
Ms. Greene, who came in second, is a 41-year-old mother of two and publisher of a community newsletter.
She promised delegates that she would "take the mystery" out of school budget preparation.
This was the second time Ms. Greene had run for the school board.
Francis A. "Paco" DeBartolomeo, a 39-year-old satellite technician for National Public Radio who has six children, also was a repeat candidate. He came in fourth with 25 votes.
Michael Slotterback, a 34-year-old intelligence analyst and the father of a 7-month-old daughter, came in last with nine votes in his first attempt to seek a school board seat.
Mr. Anderson said the field was a good one, adding that he was pleased to see that several of the candidates had published position papers.