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Orioles' Showalter on deck to inaugurate schools' speaker series

The Baltimore County Public School system's Business Advisory Council is starting a new speakers' series — and Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter is batting leadoff.

Showalter, 2014 American League Manager of the Year, is scheduled to speak for free on Monday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m., at the George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology, 938 York Road.

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Approximately 250 tickets will be available to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis, the school system said in a news release. Admission is free, but attendees must have a ticket to be admitted. Tickets can be reserved on the school system's website, http://www.bcps.org.

The event also will be live-streamed on BCPS-TV (Comcast Cable Channel 73 and Verizon FiOS Channel 34 in Baltimore County) and on the website.

The advisory council envisions having speakers once or twice a year to start, said Mychael Dickerson, a school system spokesman. The goal of the program is to broaden public dialogue about education priorities and what the business community can do to help.

"As educators, we are constantly seeking avenues to bring people together to talk, listen and learn," schools Superintendent Dallas Dance said in a written statement. "This speaker series is a way to do that and to help deepen our shared engagement with and support of education priorities."

The advisory council, which meets four or five times a year, is looking to be more active involved in the school system, Dickerson said. "It's not just about donating money," he said.

But Dickerson added, "The first step is to get them to come to the table. There are business folks who don't have kids in school. They don't really have a reason to get involved in the school system. We're just asking that they get involved in any way that's best for them," whether by volunteering in schools, sponsoring internships for students or partnering with individual schools on projects such as cleaning the buildings

The trick, Dickerson said, is to offer business people something like a speaker series, as "one way to get them to come in."

Showalter was glad to help, without charging a fee, Dickerson said.

"He said, 'If students are going to be there, I want to be involved,'" Dickerson said. He said Showalter will tailor his speech to discuss themes including the importance of leadership and teamwork, stressing that, "It's important to students to learn how to work collaboratively."

Showalter, 58, will start his sixth season as Orioles manager in 2015 with 1,259 career wins, the third most among active major league managers and 36th all-time. In his career, Showalter is 1,259-1,161 in 16 seasons as manager of the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers and the Orioles.

A three-time Manager of the Year in 1994, 2004 and 2014, he led the 2014 Orioles to a 96-66 record and their first American League East division title since 1997. After sweeping the Detroit Tigers in the American League Division Series, the Orioles made their first trip to the American League Championship Series since 1997, but fell to the Kansas City Royals in four games.

Additional speakers are being lined up and will be announced at a later date, Dickerson said.

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