Allen Dyer has had a colorful history with the Howard County Board of Education, both while serving as a member and while not.
When discussing his run for the board this year, Dyer points to that history, which he believes demonstrates his experience as a "proven advocate for openness."
"I've noticed that this election season there are a whole lot of candidates talking about openness," he said. "Well, I've been there and I've done it."
Dyer, who served on the board from 2008 to 2012 was impeached by his fellow board members in 2011, but finished his term. In the 2012 primary, Dyer finished eighth out of 15 candidates, failing to advance to the general election.
He continues to seek a judge's declaratory judgment stating that the board was wrong to impeach him.
His colleagues on the board voted 5-2 to impeach Dyer after he was accused of privately taping closed session meetings and releasing confidential student information. Current board members Brian Meshkin and Cindy Vaillancourt, who is seeking re-election this year, voted against the measure.
Despite his tumultuous tenure on the board, Dyer said stands by his actions.
"I did everything I could, and I'm proud of what I did," he said.
If elected, Dyer said he would continue his advocacy for transparency on school system operations.
"I think I have ideas that need to be given serious consideration, and I think my ideas are better than the lack of ideas by the board majority," he said.
Although Dyer estimates that he has cost the school system hundreds of thousands in legal fees over the past decade on his legal challenges, he's not apologetic.
"It's an absolute waste of money that they're trying to defend processes that are closed," he said of the school system fighting his challenges in court. "The argument that a citizen is overtaxing the resources of the government is absurd."
Two years after failing in the 2012 primary, Dyer, a Glenelg attorney, filed to run the day before the deadline this year.
Dyer, whose two children graduated from the Howard County Public School System, acknowledged that his decision was a hard one this year, adding that the Board "majority has a long history of marginalizing people."
His passion for serving on the board is still there, he says, but the final straw in his decision to run was seeing Superintendent Renee Foose "get the short end of the stick."
"The short time she was on the board, I really enjoyed working with her and I see a lot of potential," he said,
Dyer, who voted to approve Foose as Superintendent in 2012, said he approves the job she has done thus far.
But he argues that if the approval process were open, Foose would have started her tenure with "fantastic, solid, knowledgeable support by the voters."
"The secrecy of that process is something that leaves her out there, exposed, because they [her detractors] say, 'How do we even know she's qualified?'" he said.
At the end of the day, Dyer said he learned a lot from his first term and is "ready to do an even better job."
"I hope they [voters] will give me the opportunity to have my second term, but that's their choice," he said.
This is part of a series of profiles of Howard County School Board candidates.
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