Six vying for two seats on school board Forum Wednesday in Baltimore County

March 22, 1996|By Marego Athans | Marego Athans,SUN STAFF

A computer programmer for the Defense Department, two retired school officials, an engineer who headed a Chinese-language school, a parent leader and a defense contract representative are competing for nomination to the Baltimore County school board.

The public can hear from the candidates Wednesday in a forum sponsored by the School Board Nominating Convention, which makes nonbinding recommendations to the governor.

The convention will vote May 1 on its choice for each of the two seats that become open July 1.

Three candidates have applied for each seat. Because the nominating convention customarily recommends three for each vacancy, all of the names will be submitted to Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

Competing to replace District 5 board member Ronald L. Jacoby, who is not eligible for reappointment, are:

Stephen F. Crum, 53, a computer programmer with the Defense Department who has four children in county schools. A member of the Southeast Area Education Advisory Council since 1987, he said his priority is to improve students' communications skills.

Nicholas T. Kalathas, 37, a defense contract representative for Northrop Grumman Corp. He began volunteering as an economics teacher in the Junior Achievement program in 1993 and liked it so much that he enrolled in a master's degree program in education at Loyola College.

Mr. Kalathas, who has four children in county schools, said he is most concerned with what he calls an overload of new programs piled on teachers that forces them to shift gears with each new trend.

Barbara J. Smith, 40, a medical transcriber and office manager of Textile Printing Co., a family business. Mrs. Smith, who has three children in county schools, has been a PTA and school advisory council leader, classroom volunteer and parent helper for nine years. As a board member, she said, she would help monitor and evaluate academic programs, work on safety issues and boost teacher training.

The others are vying for the at-large seat of Stephen A. Burch, who is eligible for reappointment but has not submitted his name to the convention. He was out of town and could not be reached.

The contenders are:

Jules M. deFries, 66, a retired who spent 33 years in the system, then taught math at Calvert Hall College High School for nine years.

Mr. deFries said he remembers when the school system's curriculum was copied throughout the country. "I'd like to see some of that harmony and pride restored," he said.

Catherine E. Stifler, 70, a retired guidance counselor who worked in county schools for 23 years, starting as a nurse. She then worked with children who were physically and mentally disabled. She said she would use her experience to focus on the health and emotional problems that can impede a child's education.

David D. Wang, 44, a project engineer at Whitney, Bailey, Cox and Magnani consultant engineers and former principal of the Chinese Language School of Baltimore. Mr. Wang, who has two children in county schools, said he is most concerned with immigrant children, many of whom travel by bus several hours a day to classes in English for Speakers of Other Languages.

The forum will be held at 7: 30 p.m. Wednesday at Ruxton Center, 6916 N. Charles St.

Pub Date: 3/22/96

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