The long list of Howard County Board of Education candidates just got a little shorter.

Kelly Casey Van Horn, one of the 15 candidates who filed to run for three open spots on the board, is dropping her candidacy, she said Wednesday.

"I think of myself as someone who fights for education rights, someone with classroom experience, and I think the board would benefit from that," she said. "But teaching has always been my passion, and that's what I want to get back to once my kids start school. I don't want to jeopardize my career."

Van Horn, 34, of Columbia, is a former teacher in Fairfax County, Va., and the mother of two children, ages 1 and 3. She said she wanted to get back into teaching, and after talking with members of the school system administration, and friends and former administrators in other districts, decided to drop out of the race.


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"The read I was getting from people is that the administration would be less likely to hire someone who had board experience," she said. "The basic gist I was getting was that they'd rather have someone more status quo, than someone who would shake things up, and that makes sense to me."

Still, Van Horn said, she thinks the board can benefit from having members with classroom experience.

"I don't see how the board can make decisions affecting teachers, without having been in a classroom," she said.

Her name will still be on the primary ballot April 3 because the ballots have already been printed, Van Horn said. She said she will support the candidates who receive endorsements from the Howard County Education Association.