Columbia man plans second try for school board

April 18, 1994|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Sun Staff Writer

A Columbia man who ran unsuccessfully for the county school board in the last election is trying again.

Delroy L. Cornick, the father of five and a 25-year Columbia resident, has announced that he will seek a school board seek in this fall's countywide, nonpartisan election.

"Howard County has been good to me, and it's always been a belief of mine to volunteer one's efforts," he says.

The retired business management professor from Morgan State University garnered more than 29,000 votes in the 1992 election.

"It certainly encouraged me to run again and also, it's how you present defeat to your kids and the younger generation," he says. "We try to tell our kids when you lose, you get up and go in there . . . and play again."

Dr. Cornick, a 65-year-old Democrat, says he would work to make the school board more responsive to community concerns.

"A board member is an elected officer," he says. "As such, [the member] needs to listen to the community, needs to go to the community, needs to explain why we do what we do. I don't think the board should be perceived as another arm of the school bureaucracy."

The uproar over last year's administrative transfer of more than 60 principals and teachers could have been avoided if there had been better communication between board members and parents, Dr. Cornick says.

"My feeling is people don't always resent what you do," he says. "Sometimes, they don't understand what the issues are."

Dr. Cornick says he considers himself not only an African-American, but a qualified African-American who would give the board some diversity. The board is composed of one white man and four white women.

"I think also that anyone would be concerned that this county has only seen fit to elect one African-American [William Manning, who recently died of cancer] in the history of the elected school board," he says.

"If we're going to talk about diversity in the curriculum, diversity here, diversity there, then we should have diversity on the school board. I'm not there to represent African-American students only. I'm there to make sure African-American students are not excluded."

Dr. Cornick has been active in many community organizations. He most recently was chairman of the county Compensation Review Commission, which determines whether the county executive and the County Council should get pay raises. He chaired the committee that considered alternative forms of government for Columbia and worked on a committee that looked at alternative forms of financing for the New Town.

Dr. Cornick served in the Navy as an air crewman. He went on to become the first in his family to graduate from college and earned a doctorate in public administration ith a specialty in public finance.

His five children are attending or have graduated from county schools. His three grandchildren -- the oldest, a girl, 6 -- will soon attend county schools.

He believes his educational background and his experience as a parent with children in the school system would serve him well on the board.

"I'd like to see somebody on the board with some skills and understanding of finance, who understands organization," he says.

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