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Lansdowne High student named to school superintendent's advisory board

Colleges and UniversitiesSchoolsHigh SchoolsJoe A. HairstonApple iPadUniversity of Maryland, College Park

Logan McNaney has one more meeting to program into his iPad's calendar each month.

Superintendent Joe Hairston appointed McNaney and seniors from Dulaney, Hereford, Catonsville and Woodlawn high schools and from the Carver Center for Arts and Technology magnet high school to his 2011-2012 Student Advisory Board.

"It's really an honor to be working with Dr. Hairston," said the senior at Lansdowne High School. "It's nice to be representing all (of the Baltimore County) students and really have their voice be heard."

Hairston has appointed a Student Advisory Board each year since 2004, according to a release from Baltimore County Public Schools.

The president of the Baltimore County Student Councils and the student member on the Baltimore County Board of Education are chosen along with from county high schools on a rotating basis, said Phyllis Reese, a spokeswoman for Baltimore County Public Schools.

"The time I spend with our students helps me maintain clarity of mission," Hairston was quoted as saying in the release. "I work from a stronger position when I hear directly from them."

Hairston meets with the board to connect with students and receive their insights onto the needs, concerns and interests of them and their peers, the release stated.

Hairston, who plans to retire at the end of the year, started serving as the superintendent when the students on his advisory board began kindergarten.

McNaney said the board had its first meeting with the superintendent on Oct. 19.

The board and Hairston discussed issues such as overcrowding in classes and how classes increase in difficulty as students rise through the system, McNaney said.

McNaney took the time to bring up another issue that he holds near and dear to his heart.

"The electronics policy is something I felt adamantly about bringing up," McNaney, 17, said. "Right now, (the policy is) no electronics in school.

"It would be nice for upper classmen, (if it were) switched so that we could use personal computers for agendas or organizing things for college."

McNaney, who is also the student member on the Baltimore County Board of Education, admitted that his plan has pros and cons, such as monitoring the students' computer usage to ensure they are using the tool as intended.

It's that ability to see both sides of an issue that makes McNaney a good selection to represent the county's students, said Lansdowne Principal Kenneth Miller.

"I think he brings the perspective of being a student in today's world," said Miller, in his first year at Lansdowne High. "He brings to the table how our decisions as adults impact him and prepare him as a student for the next step, college or work."

McNaney is the school's senior class president and a member of the Viking cross-country team.

His academic schedule this semester runs from an AP class to an introductory technical class.

This experience, McNaney said, gives him a good perspective of the student population.

"Being able to see all sides of the spectrum, I think is the best benefit I have to be doing all of the work with Dr. Hairston," McNaney said. "I'm not just focused on just this one group of kids. I can see everyone and really take that opinion."

McNaney said he is considering Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, University of Maryland College Park or the U.S. Coast Guard Academy to study computer engineering next fall.

Any changes McNaney helps to bring likely won't affect him because he is in his final seven months at Lansdowne High.

The position of being a student advisor is still fulfilling, though.

"Everyone on the advisory board is a senior, so anything we put in place is going to change underclassmen," McNaney said. "It's just a way to change things for students (below) us. If we didn't do anything, I guess it would always just be the same."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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