My name is Gary W. Desper and I am running for one of three (3) seats on the Board of Education (the "Board"). We are fortunate to have a wonderful public school system here in Carroll County and I want to help continue to move it forward and improve. I am committed to working hard to seek solutions to the many important challenges facing our public schools today.
As a first generation college graduate of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah ("BYU"), who went on to get a law degree from The Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C., education has played a large part in who I am. Visitors to BYU's campus are greeted by a sign that reads, "Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve" and that message has stuck with me ever since I saw it the first time. Today I am an attorney in private practice in Westminster and my office is conveniently located on North Court Street near the Board of Education and County offices. The principle of "pay it forward" is important to me and I have been fortunate to be able to give scholarships to college bound seniors in Carroll County for the last two (2) years. If elected to the Board, I intend to use at least half of the pay received from serving on the Board to continue this tradition.
As a father of four (4) children ranging in age from ten (10) years to eight (8) months, I am a concerned parent with a vested interest in our public school system. I have been an active participant in our schools for several years and began volunteering in the classroom when my oldest child started kindergarten five (5) years ago here in Carroll County. I have since helped juniors at South Carroll High School with mock interviews and also accepted a South Carroll High School senior last year who wanted to gain experience in a law office as an intern for school credit.
By profession I am a zealous advocate for any client in my law practice. If elected, I would be the same kind of zealous advocate for our children to be able to obtain a quality public education.
Some of the important challenges facing our schools include the implementation of common core, budget and funding issues, and relationships with local and State government officials and our community. I plan to find out what works and what does not work and advocate for change as needed.
My goals include pursuing ways to address budget problems so we can improve teacher retention and attract new talent to our classrooms, which benefits our children. I think it is important to build a positive working relationship with our County Commissioners and pursue needed funding for our public schools from the County and State. I also intend to advocate for restructuring the citizen participation portion of Board meetings to allow the Board to briefly respond to citizen comments. I believe in fostering a warm and welcoming relationship between the Board, school system employees, parents, students, government officials and our community at large. Education affects us all and we must work together as a team.
I believe I have the experience, creativity, energy and persistence to achieve these goals since helping people pursue the best possible resolution to their various problems on a daily basis is what I do as an attorney. As a former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Maryland, I am experienced in the workings of government. I have an open door policy and will make time for all who have questions, comments or concerns about our public schools.
After graduating from law school and serving as clerk to a judge in Annapolis, my wife and I fell in love with Carroll County. We have lived in Eldersburg for many years and my family and I take pride in calling Carroll County "home." Let's work together to ensure that all of our students can continue to be proud of their public schools and the education they receive here in Carroll County.