4 candidates seek to fill vacant school board seat

March 21, 1994

Four people will vie for an at-large seat on the Anne Arundel County school board. The post was held for about 4 1/2 years by Jo Ann Tollenger, who stepped down in early January.

Retiring Anne Arundel Community College President Thomas Florestano, appointed to complete the term that runs through June, said he is not interested in a full five-year term.

In contrast to the 30 people who sought the seat in January, only four people applied for the full term -- even after the deadline was extended until March 12.

The four are:

* Robert A. Honaker, 41, of Severn, is sponsored by the Provinces Civic Association. The Defense Department worker has a son who is a 1992 graduate of Meade Senior High School and a daughter who is a sophomore there. Mr. Honaker is involved with several programs at the school.

* Nancy M. Schrum, 39, of Pasadena, is sponsored by the Bodkin Elementary School PTA. She is president of that organization and a volunteer at the school. She has two daughters who attend the school, and a preschooler.

* John J. Loughlin II, 35, of Severn, is sponsored by Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, where he is an active member. His daughter is in kindergarten at Jessup Elementary School. A television producer for the Allied Signal Corp., he works at NASA headquarters in Washington.

* Mark R. McKechnie, 45, of Arnold, is sponsored by Bay Hills Community Association. He has a son in fourth grade at Broadneck Elementary School and a daughter in ninth grade at Severn River Junior High School. The family has a foreign exchange student from Colombia living with them who is a senior at Broadneck Senior High School. Mr. McKechnie is an architect with WTW Architects in Lanham and is involved in community activities.

The nominating convention committee invited 1,300 community groups to participate, said the Rev. Charles A. Simms, committee chairman. It will present the candidates to the public at 7 p.m. March 29 in the Board of Education board room.

At 7:30 p.m., the county Council of PTAs will sponsor a "Meet the Candidates" coffee session in the cafeteria. The organization will have a convention May 4 at Severna Park High School to choose a nominee and runner-up. The names will be forwarded to County Executive Robert R. Neall, who will make a recommendation to the governor.

Mr. Neall, who had not seen the list of nominees, said Friday he expects to interview the candidates recommended to him. While he prefers to forward a name from the list to the governor, he said, "I'm just not going to be totally bound."

Last year, Mr. Neall went with the top choice of the convention, Carlesa Finney. In 1992, Michael A. Pace was the convention's runner-up, but he won the appointment to the school board.

The county executive and governor are free to bypass candidates nominated by the convention, and sometimes have chosen candidates who had not been considered viable by convention delegates.

For example, when Vincent Leggett was appointed to the school board nearly six years ago, his name had not been on the list submitted by the convention. Ms. Tollenger also never went through the nominating convention.

The nominating convention committee, composed of community groups, will sponsor three hearings at which convention delegates may question candidates, Mr. Simms said. The hearings will be at 7 p.m. April 5 at Arundel Senior High School, April 13 at Chesapeake Senior High School and April 21 at Central Middle School.

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