15 in Balto. Co. seek school board seats

June 08, 1994|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,Sun Staff Writer

Fifteen candidates have put themselves in the running for two new seats on the Baltimore County school board, including one of Superintendent Stuart Berger's most vocal critics, the outspoken former president of the county NAACP and the board's own community liaison.

"It's been amazing the number of people who have come forward," said Anne Banta, past president of the School Board Nominating Convention, which oversees the process. "We've never been in this position, having two really unencumbered seats."

After two years of constant and often controversial change in the school system -- including complaints from parents that the current board was arrogant and unwilling to listen -- county legislators this year approved an expansion of the board from 10 members to 12.

The large crowd of candidates -- almost twice as many as there were in any year that officials can recall -- will be winnowed down to six by the nominating convention, which comprises representatives of community groups from around the county.

The convention will send its choices to Gov. William Donald Schaefer, but he is not bound by its choices, and last year he rejected its nominees for two vacancies.

This year's 15 hopefuls will tell the convention why they want to join the board and answer questions at a candidates' forum at 8 tonight at Loch Raven High School, 1212 Cowpens Ave. in Towson.

The roster of board hopefuls has some familiar names, including the following:

* Leonard Duffy, who is finishing a stint as the board's first community liaison. The owner of a Towson consulting firm with two children in county schools, Mr. Duffy was appointed last fall when the board reluctantly agreed to set up an independent liaison for parents, students and teachers who had complaints and concerns about the school system. He said his experience has shown him how the system works and made him familiar with the "pulse beat" of the school community.

* Col. James R. Pennington, a longtime community activist who was ousted last year after 14 years as president of the county chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People by members who complained about his heavy-handed style and infractions of the group's bylaws. He is a regular at school board meetings and a frequent speaker.

* Shirley Giberson, who founded the parent-support group PRIDE for the stated purpose of getting rid of Dr. Berger and several board members she labeled as arrogant and unresponsive.

* Phyllis Ettinger, a 20-year school activist and advocate for gifted-and-talented education.

The General Assembly this spring added the two at-large seats to the board, bringing the number to 12 -- one of whom is a student who serves for a year. Other members, most of whom represent the county's legislative districts, are appointed for five years by the governor.

Mrs. Banta, who has been active in the nominating convention for nearly 15 years, said the most candidates she can remembers is eight. After tonight's forum, delegates from the convention's sponsoring organizations, including PTAs and community groups, will meet June 22 to select three nominees for each seat.

Those nominations will be sent to Governor Schaefer.

THE CANDIDATES

The 15 school board candidates:

* Ronald P. Bowers, Lutherville, retired after 30 years at the Social Security Administration in Baltimore, where he was budget officer and planning director.

* Katharine A. Cohn, Timonium, telephone interviewer and Pinewood Elementary School PTA executive board member.

* Clifford J. Collins III, Randallstown, program director for National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

* Leonard Duffy, Towson, president of Support Services Group Inc., a consulting firm and the board's first liaison with the public, a position he will relinquish June 30.

* Phyllis Ettinger, Timonium, parent education associate at Towson State University's Institute for Gifted Children, chairman of the Citizens' Advisory Committee on Gifted Education and former PTA president.

* James C. Georges, Lutherville, dentist in private practice.

* Shirley Giberson, Upper Falls, counselor and founder of PRIDE, support group for parents.

* Louis J. Glick, Pikesville, attorney.

* John A. Hayden III, Anneslie, attorney and partner in Towson firm.

* Michael P. Kennedy, Catonsville, supervisor of student teachers at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

* Marion J. Lawson, Edgemere, senior foreman at Bethlehem Steel Corp. and former PTA president.

* Terry P. O'Malley, Oakhurst, senior vice president of Human Resources at Franklin Square Hospital Center.

* Col. James R. Pennington, Catonsville, president of Banneker Community Development Association, former county NAACP president and longtime community activist.

* Gary L. Rice, Oliver Beach, senior pastor at Key Worship Center on North Point Boulevard.

* Andy Tomko, Perry Hall, supervisor at Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. and PTSA president.

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