Carroll County school board member Laura K. Rhodes tearfully announced yesterday her immediate resignation from the five-member panel, noting family obligations.
"After considerable reflection and discussion with my family, it is with deep regret that I have decided to resign," said Rhodes, who also served as the board's vice president. "I had already decided not to run for re-election, but I had hoped to be able to complete the term of my office. But life has changed for me since being elected."
Rhodes, who was elected to a four-year term in 2002, said that when she joined the board she was a stay-at-home mother.
She said that for the first two years of her term, she spent 30 to 40 hours a week on board-related work, such as visiting schools and researching the system's issues. In Carroll, board members are paid $3,000 a year.
To help with the costs of sending her daughter Christine, 19, to Villa Julie College, Rhodes, who is a psychologist, decided to return to work last summer. She became the manager of community health improvement with Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County, a nonprofit agency that promotes community health.
Rhodes also has a son, Eric, 15, who attends South Carroll High in Sykesville.
She said it became increasingly difficult to juggle the time demands of a full-time job and her work on the school board with her family's needs. She chose to resign now in the hopes that the board could find her replacement before the new school year gets under way.
Board President Gary W. Bauer said yesterday that the board would accept letters and resumes until Aug. 15 from anyone interested in joining the board to serve out Rhodes' term.
Bauer said the board would send the names of up to three nominees to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. - who has the sole responsibility of appointing replacements - by late August.
By law, the governor is not limited to the board's recommendations and can appoint someone of his choosing.