Lawyer, teen appointed to school panel

Anne Arundel County nomination convention made Leahy its top pick

July 01, 2004|By Andrea Siegel | Andrea Siegel,SUN STAFF

An Annapolis lawyer and a Crofton student were appointed yesterday to the Anne Arundel County school board by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

Michael G. Leahy, 49, of Severna Park and Sarah K. Ferguson, 17, an Arundel High School senior, were the governor's picks.

Leahy, also the top choice of the county's school board nominating convention, expects to be sworn in Tuesday, a day before the next board meeting.

He said he plans to be available to people concerned about county schools, including how well standardized curricula fit students with various needs.

Noting that maintenance and construction pose longtime and increasing challenges for the school system, he said, "I am certainly interested in management of infrastructure." This was Leahy's third bid for a school board post. The first was when he was 18, after graduating from high school. He campaigned unsuccessfully for a seat last year.

The Severna Park resident is an attorney with the Annapolis law-lobbying firm of Cooter, Mangold, Tompert & Wayson. He heads the firm's technology department, concentrating on intellectual property and transactions involving companies that are technology-oriented.

He is registered as a lobbyist with Anne Arundel County, but described his involvement in the firm's lobbying, which includes bingo interests, as "peripheral."

Leahy has long been involved in government and school activities and served on Severna Park High School's Citizen Advisory Committee.

While in law school, he served as an assistant to the legal counsel of Vice President George H.W. Bush on the White House Task Force on Regulation. Leahy later worked for the Federal Trade Commission.

He served as a legal and political adviser to Robert R. Neall during his successful 1990 campaign to be Anne Arundel County executive. In the Neall administration, Leahy coordinated several key projects, including revisions to the Critical Area law, the transition of Tipton Airfield at Fort Meade from the Army to county ownership, the cleanup of county-owned property on Ordnance Road in Glen Burnie and the drafting of legislation to regulate bingo halls in the county.

He earned a bachelor's degree from Loyola College and a law degree from Franklin Pierce Law Center in New Hampshire.

He and his wife, Amy, live with their two younger children, Henry, a seventh-grader at Severna Park Middle School, and Mary, a fourth-grader at Severna Park Elementary School. They also have an adult daughter.

The board has seven adult members and a student representative with full voting rights.

Students nominated Ferguson, one of four teenagers seeking to represent the county's 77,000 students, to the one-year position in March.

Ferguson was traveling and not available for comment yesterday. She is an honor student, and has been a member of the student government since sixth grade and the Arundel Players, which is the high school drama club, since ninth grade, said her mother, Addie Ferguson.

Her mother described her as a "good delegater and leader" who is considering careers connected to business and political science.

She is also a member of the Parent Teacher Student Organization.

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