School board candidates ponder their election-night plans to wait out primary vote

Education Notebook

September 10, 2006|By John-John Williams IV

Ellen Flynn Giles doesn't have a clue where she is going to spend Tuesday night to learn the results of the primary election, in which she is one of 14 candidates for Howard County Board of Education vying for a spot on the ballot in next month's general election.

"I'm just trying to get there," Giles said with a laugh. "Never having done this before I'm not sure where I'll be."

The primary will cull the field to 10 finalists who will appear on the Nov. 7 general election ballot, five of whom will be elected.

Although party politics has not crept into the school board election -- it is a nonpartisan race -- many school board hopefuls will spend Tuesday night at Kahler Hall in Columbia's Harper's Choice Village Center, the site where Democratic candidates for other offices will wait for results.

A few of those who attended Thursday night's board meeting talked a bit about their election-night plans.

Sandra H. French, a former school board chairman, said she plans to learn her fate at Kahler Hall "because they have always invited board members to come."

Board Chairman Joshua Kaufman also plans to be at Kahler Hall -- but for a different reason.

"They have good cookies," Kaufman said. "I'm not doing an election party or anything."

Board member Patricia S. Gordon said she will be at Kahler Hall because it is a great place to get results.

"They collect all of the figures, and they put them up on charts," Gordon said.

Frank Aquino, a lawyer who previously ran for the school board, said he would be at home or at Kahler Hall.

"I'm not sure yet," he said.

Larry Cohen, a retired school system employee, and Marcelino M. Bedolla, a science teacher in Baltimore -- the two other candidates who attended Thursday's board meeting -- said they were not sure where they would be on Tuesday.

The other candidates include: Roger J. Lerner, an attorney and business adviser; Di Zou, a 2006 graduate of Glenelg High School; Allen Dyer, a lawyer and computer consultant; Donald Byrd Marston Jr., a West Friendship resident; Paul Aliprando, an Ellicott City resident; Peter A. Sola, a professor at Howard University; and Dr. Janet Siddiqui, a pediatrician.

The primary will not be Giles' sole focus this week. She is a senior editor/analyst with Platts, a division of the McGraw-Hill Cos., and said that she has to edit an 1,800-page book by Friday.

"It's going to be a long week," she said.

Gold medal

Tatyana McFadden, the 17-year-old Atholton High School junior wheelchair athlete who won the right to compete in track meets in Howard County last school year, recently took on the world -- and won in record fashion.

McFadden earned a gold medal and set a world record in the T54 women's 100-meter wheelchair race Tuesday on the third day of the 2006 International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships in Assen, Netherlands. She went on to win a silver medal in the T54 200-meter race Thursday. T54 is one of many IPC competition classifications for disabled athletes.

On Tuesday, McFadden defeated a field of athletes that included the former world-record holder Chantal Petitclerc of Canada. On Thursday, Petitclerc got the better of the Howard County teenager.

This is not McFadden's first time excelling against international competition. In the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece, McFadden won silver and bronze medals.

It has been a busy summer for McFadden, who traveled to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for a basketball camp; to Atlanta for U.S. Paralympic Track and Field Championships; and Switzerland for the Swiss Championships, which was preparation for the World Championships.

The victories in Europe have distanced McFadden from the events of her sophomore year.

First, McFadden sued, seeking the chance to compete with other high school athletes.

Then, at the state championship meet May 27 at Morgan State University, McFadden was ruled to have been "pacing" teammate Alison Smith in the 1,600 meters, and both competitors were disqualified. The disqualification cost Atholton High the Class 2A state championship.

john-john.williams@baltsun.com

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