Kaufman to run for school panel

Elkridge man has served on board 2 years after being appointed to fill a vacancy


Joshua M. Kaufman - a relative unknown when he was appointed to the Howard County Board of Education two years ago - has announced his campaign to seek a four-year term on the school board next year.

Kaufman, of Elkridge, filed candidacy papers with the Howard County Board of Elections yesterday, making official his intention to seek a seat in what is expected to be a crowded nonpartisan race.

With the five-member board expanding to seven members in December 2006 and terms of three current members expiring, including Kaufman's, voters will elect five members next November.

Board member Patricia S. Gordon said she is not seeking re-election, and Chairman Courtney Watson, though she has kept mum about her future, is likely to seek another office.

That scenario means at least four members could be new to the school board next year.

"It'll be a time of great change," Kaufman said. "I've proven my leadership capabilities and my contribution to the Board of Education. That continuity will be very important."

Besides Kaufman, Larry Cohen, a school system pupil personnel worker, is to run for a school board seat. He announced his candidacy in July.

Cohen, who began his career in Howard County as a high school social studies teacher in 1978, plans to retire next spring.

During his tenure, Cohen has served in numerous positions, including assistant principal at Howard, Atholton and Centennial high schools and principal of Oakland Mills Middle School.

Cohen said he wants to continue his involvement in education by maintaining the school system's academic success.

"I want to make sure we give every kid every opportunity to be successful," said Cohen, 55, of Columbia. "That's probably my driving force."

In 2003, Kaufman was appointed by County Executive James N. Robey to fill a school board seat left vacant by Virginia W. Charles, who resigned with three years left in her term.

The appointment surprised many school board members and education activists, who had not heard of Kaufman.

Kaufman, 34, who has two children, a 3-year-old and a first-grader at Rockburn Elementary School, is a democracy specialist at the U.S. Agency for International Development in Washington.

Since his appointment, Kaufman has been an active and vocal member of the school board.

He lobbied for a new financial management system, adding money in the school system budget this year to hire an internal auditor, which is in the works, and hiring an ombudsman.


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