10 candidates seeking 2 seats on school board

July 03, 1994|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Sun Staff Writer

The class size is getting bigger, with three more candidates for school board. A total of 10 are vying for the two seats that will be open in November.

Wayne Cogswell of Taneytown, Thomas Hiltz of Woodbine and Kathleen Hamblet of Taylorsville are the latest to file papers to run.

Incumbent Carolyn L. Scott is running for re-election, but John D. Myers will not. Other challengers are Gary V. Bauer, Laura E. Albers, Carole M. "Cyd" Pecoraro, Michael R. Baker, Deborah J. Paisie and Deborah J. Winter.

Ms. Hamblet filed late Friday and The Sun was not able to reach her for comment. She has been active in parent-teacher associations and school issues, and has attended several school board meetings.

Mr. Cogswell is also known for his attendance at board meetings, often as a thorn in the board's side.

"I hope to serve as the catalyst to stimulate the people of Carroll County," Mr. Cogswell said. "Even if I am not fortunate enough to win, I hope my candidacy will convince them that we are in charge."

Mr. Cogswell, 61, is a retired code-breaker for the National Security Agency. He was raised in Iowa. He moved to Maryland in the late 1950s after he was recruited by the NSA. He has lived in Carroll County since 1975.

He said his campaign will focus on the need for integrity, honesty and openness on the school board. With those guiding principles, he said, a community can solve any problem.

Mr. Cogswell has been most vocal in recent years in chastising the board for flip-flopping on the issue of whether the superintendent's contract should be public.

The board first said it was private, but because of the controversy Superintendent R. Edward Shilling volunteered it to the public. It turned out later that board lawyer Edward Gutman had simultaneously sent a letter to the board saying the contract probably would have to be made public.

The letter from Mr. Gutman to then-board President Cheryl A. McFalls was not mentioned to the public until January 1993, when Mr. Cogswell pressed for an answer from Mr. Gutman at a public board meeting.

Mr. Cogswell said that if a board and superintendent are deceitful, that behavior will trickle down to the classroom. He never addressed whether the amount of Mr. Shilling's salary was excessive. He said he was concerned only that the board would ever feel justified in keeping the contract secret.

"You just can't do that. We're talking about the expenditure of public tax money," he said.

He ran for the board once before, in 1984, and was declared a winner before elections officials realized they had incorrect results because of a computer malfunction.

He also ran for county commissioner in 1982.

Other issues he supports include more rigorous academics to keep up with the rest of the world, schools that more openly welcome parent questions about testing and curriculum, and merit pay, in which school employees get raises more as a reward for good work than for seniority. He also supports holding more meetings in the evening to accommodate working parents.

He said outcomes-based education does not appear to be a radical change from the way schools have always tried to improve. Setting goals for what students should know by the end of a course, or their school years, is a logical notion, he said.

Although some fear the outcomes approach because they believe it will encroach on values taught at home, Mr. Cogswell said he sees no evidence of that. If he does, he said, he would share their concern.

Mr. Hiltz said he supports outcomes-based education as a way to define goals for students and schools, and to make sure that what a student learns in geometry at Westminster High School is the same as one would learn at South Carroll High School.

Mr. Hiltz, 34, is a senior project manager for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This is his first race for a public office and one of the few that he can pursue. As a federal employee, he may not run in partisan elections. Carroll County school board elections are nonpartisan.

He was raised in the Woodstock area of Baltimore County and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1981. He served in the Navy for six years and is a lieutenant commander in the Reserves.

"I've always been real involved in public service, and I've devoted my whole adult life to military or public service," he said.

Running for the board, he said, "is a way to contribute to the quality of life in the community, and just as important, to the quality of life for my children."

He and his wife, Ingrid Hiltz, live on a small farm and raise sheep. He is a member of the Carroll County Farm Bureau.

Mr. Hiltz said he would bring to the board five basic principles: accountability, independence, openness, efficiency and responsiveness.

He said board members are accountable to those who elect them and to the children in school.

"The independence: As a school board, we need to be able to act independently and without undue influence from our critics or from the school administration," he said. "We are the policy setters and we need to maintain our independence."

He said he wants to see more community pride in schools, a greater emphasis on emerging technology, and a strong commitment to academics and vocational curriculums.

He also supports holding more meetings in the afternoon and evenings so parents can attend.

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