8 candidates in contest for 3 school board seats

School Board

August 27, 2006|By Gina Davis | Gina Davis,sun reporter

Carroll County's school board members juggle many demands, including keeping pace with steadily increasing student enrollment, implementing state requirements such as providing all-day kindergarten and maintaining a rigorous academic program.

With hopes of influencing the countless decisions that affect the nearly 30,000-student district, eight candidates -- including two incumbents -- are vying for three open seats on the school board.

The six top vote-getters in the Sept. 12 primary election will proceed to the Nov. 7 general election.

The nonpartisan elections for the five-member school board are staggered, with two seats open in presidential election years and three slots open in the years of gubernatorial contests. School board members are elected to four-year terms.

Here is biographical information provided by the candidates:

School board Gary W. Bauer (incumbent)

Age: 59

Residence: Hampstead

Family: Wife, Dena; two adult children

Occupation: Retired Baltimore firefighter

Education: Attended Towson University

Issues: "Because Carroll is a growing county, facilities continue to be a major necessity. I will work with the commissioners and the state to secure funding for these projects. I will insist that we build facilities that have the capacity to expand to accommodate future residential growth and/or additional programs." He also says it is important to maintain a rigorous high school program of studies "to provide [students] with a set of life skills and a knowledge base to be able to compete in our expanding global society."

Dan Dekowski

Age: 70

Residence: Sykesville

Family: Married, two adult sons

Occupation: Semi-retired safety consultant, expert witness

Education: Bachelor's degree in engineering science, the Johns Hopkins University

Issues: Dekowski says he hopes "to encourage excellence in education with stress on reading skills -- the foundation for all other knowledge." He says he wants his grandsons, who are in Carroll County schools, to receive the same high-quality education he received when he attended public schools.

Patricia W. Gadberry (incumbent)

Age: 42

Residence: Sykesville

Family: Husband, Brent; three children

Occupation: Former special-education teacher

Education: Bachelor's degree in special education and elementary education, Brigham Young University

Issues: Gadberry says her chief concerns are retaining and recruiting highly qualified teachers and closing the achievement gap. She's also focused on the school system's facilities needs, such as building schools to accommodate growing student enrollment and renovating outdated buildings.

George E. Maloney

Age: 74

Residence: New Windsor

Family: Wife, Patricia; three adult children

Occupation: Semi-retired master electrician and engineer; adjunct community college instructor at Carroll Community College and Frederick Community College; substitute teacher in Carroll and Frederick counties

Education: Attended East Los Angeles Junior College; Pasadena Junior College; International Correspondence School; IBEW apprenticeship and journeyman training

Issues: Having learned from his experience as a substitute teacher in the public school system, Maloney says he would advocate for more support for special education teachers and teaching assistants. He says he is an ardent supporter of continuing education and would encourage students to consider various post-graduation options, including trade schools to learn occupations such as builders and contractors. "Students aren't aware there are six-figure jobs in hands-on jobs. I would like to be a catalyst between skilled-craft apprenticeships and students. They should be aware of their options."

David H. Roush

Age: 63

Residence: Westminster

Family: Married; two adult children

Occupation: Retired engineer, Lehigh Cement Co.

Education: Master's of business administration, Frostburg State College; bachelor's degree in chemical engineering, Lehigh University (Pa.)

Issues: "It is clear that facilities issues are becoming more and more important for the school system. We need to provide for and balance the needs for new schools, added classrooms, renovation/expansion of existing schools, and ongoing maintenance." Roush says his training and experiences as an engineer and plant manager for Lehigh Cement for more than 38 years gives him unique qualifications to address facilities issues. "As plant manager of Lehigh's Union Bridge plant during the recent $300 million modernization project, I was very involved in the largest construction project ever in Carroll County, from the first permitting to start-up and the first year of operations."

Ernest F. Sharff

Age: 75

Residence: Westminster

Family: Wife, Margit

Occupation: Retired architect

Education: Bachelor's degree in civil engineering, University of Maryland

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