Student member asks to return to board

Woman wants to take on 5-year school board term

June 13, 2006|By LIZ F. KAY .. | LIZ F. KAY ..,SUN REPORTER

The student representative on the Baltimore County school board will attend what should be her final meeting tonight, but she might be back.

Gabrielle Wyatt, 18 and on her way to college, hopes to be named to fill a coming vacancy on the panel. If appointed, she would serve through her career at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where the Pikesville resident plans to study political science next fall.

Wyatt said yesterday that she wants to use the experience she has gained on the board this year to attack problems that persist and to maintain successes.

"I really felt like my year wasn't going to be enough for me," she said.

The recent graduate of Carver Center for Arts and Technology was nominated as a student representative last year by students, student council advisers and school administrators. Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. appointed her to a one-year term on the board in July.

Wyatt first considered the idea of applying to become a full member of the board in February but said she "tabled" the idea because she thought she needed to spend some time as an ordinary teenager.

Then, she said, she realized, "I never truly was going to be a regular kid."

"I've gotten used to giving up clubs because I want to dedicate everything I have to making sure I do the right job for Baltimore County," Wyatt said.

She will soon move to UMBC's Catonsville campus, where she received a full scholarship through the Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program, which prepares graduates for careers as leaders in business, government and community.

After UMBC, Wyatt plans to go to law school and concentrate in education law. From there, Wyatt wants to get on the "fast track" to school administration and someday become a school superintendent - an ambition that, she said, she developed while observing Superintendent Joe A. Hairston on the job.

Both her parents are teachers, and Wyatt said she's "always been the black sheep" because she's been more interested in politics.

The student sent a letter formally requesting consideration for the school board position to the governor's office before she graduated last month.

This year, Wyatt was recognized in articles in the American School Board Journal and The Christian Science Monitor for initiating a series of conversations between Hairston and students at high schools.

She also worked with board Vice President Warren C. Hayman to set up a leadership council at Milford Mill Academy. Milford Mill students with leadership potential will work with similar children from area middle schools.

"She certainly has gone beyond the call in trying to find out what her constituents, the students, are concerned about, and trying to address those concerns," Hayman said.

Hayman, who was appointed in 1997 to represent western Baltimore County, and who is eligible for one more five-year term, has said he is interested in continuing to serve.

School board President Tom Grzymski, on the other hand, has said he will not seek reappointment. His and Hayman's terms expire July 1, but they will serve until the governor appoints a replacement. Serving on the board "takes an incredible amount of time," Grzymski said.

Wyatt is eligible to be appointed an at-large member of the board, an opening that would be created by Grzymski's departure. Another vacancy on the board was created by the resignation in April of member Luis E. Borunda.

In Baltimore County, student representatives can vote on all matters except budgets, collective bargaining and disciplinary hearings, Wyatt said.

Terry R. Gilleland Jr., a state delegate from Anne Arundel County, served as a student board member in 1994-1995. Although he was recommended in 2002 for a term, Gov. Parris N. Glendening did not appoint him.

liz.kay@baltsun.com

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