School board candidates narrowed to 6

June 24, 1994|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,Sun Staff Writer

A longtime education activist and school board watchdog, the board's community liaison and a persistent critic of Superintendent Stuart Berger are among six candidates for two new seats on the Baltimore County school board being recommended to Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

Chosen Wednesday night by the School Board Nominating Convention of Baltimore County, the six nominees came from a field of 14 candidates for two at-large seats created by the General Assembly this spring. The new members will expand the board from 10 to 12 seats, including one student member.

Mr. Schaefer is not required to fill the seats from the list of recommended candidates, and as recently as last November, he shunned the nominating convention's selections for his own choices. But given the large number of candidates and no incumbents, the convention is presenting the governor with a varied slate.

In order of vote tallies, the recommended candidates are:

* Phyllis Ettinger of Timonium, a 20-year activist in Baltimore County schools and advocate for education for gifted students. She has been chairwoman of the Citizens' Advisory Council on Gifted Education and PTA president at three schools. Most recently, Mrs. Ettinger has become a school board watchdog, asking Dr. Berger and board members for information on spending.

* Michael Kennedy of Catonsville, who taught for 32 years in county junior high and middle schools. Mr. Kennedy, who was nominated by the Teachers' Association of Baltimore County, is a supervisor of student teachers at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

* John A. Hayden III of Anneslie, an attorney and partner in a Towson law firm. Mr. Hayden, who has two children in county schools, has served as co-president of the Stoneleigh PTA and on executive boards of other PTAs. He was the first choice of the nominating convention for a board vacancy last year but was not appointed by Mr. Schaefer. He is not related to County Executive Roger B. Hayden.

* Katherine Cohn of Timonium, a telephone interviewer for a survey research firm. She is a member of the PTA executive board at Pinewood Elementary School and has served on many school and system committees. Ms. Cohn will have three children in county schools next year.

* Leonard Duffy of Towson, who was appointed last year as the board's first community liaison, a sounding board for citizens' concerns about the schools. Mr. Duffy, president of a training and consulting firm, will give up his liaison position June 30. He has two children in county schools.

* Shirley Giberson of Upper Falls, one of Dr. Berger's harshest critics who founded the parents' rights group, PRIDE, more than a year ago. The group's aim is to get rid of the superintendent and several board members. As a candidate, Mrs. Giberson said that she would abandon that agenda. She has been active in PTAs for 18 years and has two children in county schools.

The nominating convention is made up of community organizations, each with one vote. Because of the large number of candidates, the nominating convention took two ballots, reducing the number of nominees from 14 to 12 on the first ballot and from 12 to six on the second.

James Georges of Lutherville and Marion Lawson of Edgemere were eliminated on the first ballot. The other unsuccessful candidates were: Ronald Bowers of Lutherville, Clifford J. Collins III of Randallstown, Terry P. O'Malley of Oakhurst, James Pennington of Catonsville, Gary Rice of Oliver Beach and Andy Tomko of Perry Hall.

When Mr. Schaefer will act on the recommendations is uncertain. A spokeswoman in the governor's office said this week, "What we hope for is [to make appointments] as near to the term date as we can."

The terms officially begin July 1.

The terms of current board members Paul Cunningham and Dunbar Brooks will expire July 1; they have been recommended for reappointment. There were no other candidates for those seats.

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