Tara Battaglia and Patricia Dorsey were sworn into their second terms as Carroll County Board of Education members Wednesday afternoon, alongside Steve Whisler, who took the oath of office for the first time.
Carroll County Public Schools staff and school board members’ family and friends lined rows of seats in the board’s Westminster meeting room for the ceremony.
Battaglia, Dorsey and Whisler joined the board after receiving the most votes among six candidates in November.
The board will choose a new president and vice president at its Dec. 14 meeting. That meeting will be open to the public and begins at 5 p.m. in the board conference room at 125 N. Court St., Westminster. For information about attending or streaming the meeting, go to carrollk12.org/board-of-education/meeting-information.
It will be the first meeting using the board’s new public participation policy.
Outgoing board President Kenneth Kiler was recognized during Wednesday’s ceremony. Kiler was sworn into office as a Carroll County commissioner representing District 2 on Monday. He was unable to run again for the school board after serving two terms.
Battaglia, 44, currently the board’s vice president, held back tears after the ceremony as she talked about her mother. She also quoted Dr. Suess’ “The Lorax” in her speech, saying “unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Battaglia was joined by her husband, mother and two of her children.
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Dorsey, 72, used her remarks to remind attendees of the history of segregation in Carroll County. The former Carroll County teacher and administrator, who holds a doctoral degree in education, said she spent a decade attending segregated Carroll County Public Schools. Dorsey was joined at the ceremony by her husband, sister, two sons, three nieces, a cousin and his wife.
Whisler said he was encouraged to run for Board of Education by county legislative representatives in the Maryland General Assembly, including state Sen. Justin Ready and Del. April Rose. Whisler, 54, of Marriottsville, said he was unable to run for office before now because of his employment in the U.S. Navy. Whisler was joined by his wife, mother, and three of his sons at the ceremony.
“My first priority as a Board of Education member is going to be making sure that we look at everything from a big picture perspective,” Whisler said, “that we get as much public input and comments as possible and that we make smart decisions for the taxpayer.”
Whisler ran as a member of the BMW slate with Battaglia and James Miller, who did not earn a seat on the board.
Carroll’s school board has five members who receive $12,000 annually; the board president is paid an additional $1,000 a year. The other members of the board, whose terms will end in 2025, are Donna Sivigny and Marsha Herbert.
The board also includes a nonvoting student representative, Emilie Tedeschi, a junior at Century High School. The student representative receives $3,500 to be used for secondary education once they complete a one-year term.