Balto. Co. School Appointment

July 29, 2009|By Arin Gencer | Arin Gencer,arin.gencer@baltsun.com

Gov. Martin O'Malley appointed a new member to the Baltimore County school board Tuesday and reappointed three current members.

The new member, Lawrence E. Schmidt, is a lawyer specializing in land use and development, zoning and real estate. He previously served as zoning commissioner and hearing officer for Baltimore County for more than a decade. He replaces Frances A.S. Harris, whose term ended this summer. Harris did not seek reappointment.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity," Schmidt said. "It's a position where one can hopefully make a positive difference."

Board Vice President H. Edward Parker and members Rodger C. Janssen and Ramona N. Johnson were reappointed.

President JoAnn C. Murphy said she was pleased to see several members returning to the board with so many things under way, such as curriculum changes and a major building project. The school system is building an elementary school in West Towson.

"It will be very helpful to have three people back who understand how we got to where we are and where we need to go," she said. And with Schmidt, the board will now have the expertise of an attorney, she said.

"We're very glad that we have somebody who has a fine reputation coming in," Murphy said.

Murphy added that she was sorry to lose Harris, who worked to update a number of board policies dating to the 1960s, and whom she described as the "policy guru."

"We'd still be 10 years behind if she hadn't stuck to it and plowed through it," Murphy said. "She's leaving us in good shape."

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