Editor’s note: The Carroll County Times is profiling candidates for the Carroll County Board of Education leading up to the July 19 primary elections. In the nonpartisan race, voters may choose three candidates on their primary election ballots. The top six vote-getters will advance to the general election. Seven candidates are running for three open seats: Tara Battaglia, Patricia Dorsey, Amanda Jozkowski, James Miller, Pat Sands, Thomas Scanlan and Steve Whisler. Katie Speert is also listed on the ballot but withdrew from the race in June. Read more in The Baltimore Sun Voter Guide at baltimoresun.com/politics/elections/voter-guide.
Steve Whisler, of Marriottsville, said he is running for a seat on the Carroll County Board of Education “to ensure we keep Carroll County Public Schools one of the best performing systems in the state.
“It is very important to me that we keep our schools focused on academics and surround our teachers with ideal resources to prepare kids for college or technical trades after their K-thru-12 experience,” he said.
A retired U.S. Naval officer, Whisler, 54, said he completed 20 years of active service, including 10 years as a Persian-Farsi linguist. Whisler retired from the Navy in 2006 and moved to Carroll County in 2014.
He is a parent of one child who graduated from Carroll County Public Schools in June and another who is still a student in the school system. Whisler is also a certified teacher, having taught four years full time in public schools in Maryland, and served as a substitute teacher in Baltimore County public schools.
“I know the unique needs of elementary, middle and high schools,” Whisler said. “I am also a taxpayer that knows our communities thrive when we have safe neighborhoods and high-performing schools. I will do everything I can to ensure our school system stays one of the best in the state. I will always remember that taxpayers are stakeholders that deserve complete transparency and competent, dedicated leadership.”
Whisler is running on a slate with incumbent Tara Battaglia and James Miller. A slate is an official legal designation; its members raise and spend money as a group with a shared mission.
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Whisler says his experience running large organizations and managing budgets and assets would benefit the school board.
“I know how to identify waste, prioritize spending, and stay within allocated budgets,” he said. “I also know how to work with the business community and seek their help to give our kids additional opportunities for internship and insight into potential careers after high school.”
Whisler wants to put a priority on helping students excel in math, science and English language arts, as well as in the arts and team sports. Sports are more than just play, he said, adding that they “teach accountability, dedication to others, and leadership.”
If elected, he said he would advocate for working with state elected officials to “clearly articulate funding shortfalls and convince authorities to allocate additional resources.” The county school system’s “extremely limited budget” means school board members must work to develop priorities, improve efficiency “and maximize each dollar allocated.”
“I know the struggles facing our kids, teachers, and other staff members. I know how important it is that we address inefficient testing process that preempt classroom instruction,” he said. “I am very familiar with the incredible amount of cases a special educator must manage at the expense of providing critical services to kids with special needs. I want to work [with] the superintendent and her staff to ensure we allocate vital resources wisely and develop sound policies to improve processes that benefit our entire system.”
Whisler hopes to expand offerings at the county’s Career & Technology Center and says he would explore offering additional FFA courses in middle and high school to incorporate STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) concepts and “connect students to Carroll County’s rich agricultural heritage.
“I want to inspire students to help Carroll County be the region’s leader for farm management, marketing and production of agricultural commodities, and land resource conservation,” he said.