As early voting is set to begin Thursday, Oct. 25, the Carroll County Times has chosen to endorse Patricia Dorsey, Kenneth Kiler and Doug Howard for the three seats on the Carroll County Board of Education.
Patricia Dorsey is the only candidate running with extensive experience working inside the Carroll County Public Schools system both as a classroom teacher and in administration as a principal. Her education career, which spanned nearly four decades, gives her a needed perspective on how decisions made by the Board of Education will affect the teachers and administrators who have to carry out those decisions in the schools every day.
Beyond that, she is a well-respected member of the community, having grown up in Carroll County (and having attended public schools here) with numerous connections and community involvement, which should make her accessible to the public.
Also, as the county school system seeks to address issues of diversity, both regarding staffing and a growing minority student population, Dorsey, an African-American, will be a great advocate for minority students and teachers on the board.
Kenny Kiler is a candidate we may not have thought we would have been endorsing when the process started, simply because he was a bit of an unknown outside of his work with the Manchester Wrestling program. Over the last few months, he has made a point of getting in front of people to really learn about all of the issues facing the school system. He’ll freely admit he might not have all the answers, but his ability to listen will go a long way, especially at a time when there are many in the community who believe their concerns fall on deaf ears when dealing with the school system.
Kiler also brings with him a business acumen from his years of working in the private sector as an executive vice president of two construction companies. While running a construction company is a lot different from a school system, his understanding of budgeting during these lean fiscal times will come in handy on the BOE.
Drawing on his experiences with the wrestling program and other rec sports, Kiler has also shown an ability to work with and motivate young people. While a seat on the BOE doesn’t necessarily lead to work directly with students, these experiences should give him some insight on how decisions being made by the board could affect students from their perspective.
Finally, the Times is endorsing Doug Howard for the Board of Education. While we haven’t always seen eye-to-eye with Howard during his eight years on the Board of County Commissioners, we cannot fault Howard for speaking his mind when he feels passionately about an issue.
Too often in recent years, we’ve been troubled by the school board’s need to speak as a board with one voice. Voters picked the individual members to be just that — individuals. It’s OK to disagree, and disagreement does not equal dysfunction. Based on Howard’s eight years as a county commissioner, we think as a member of the school board, he will initiate conversations that haven’t been happening in the public eye the past few years.
Furthermore, Howard will bring his expertise of the county budget from his eight years working “across the street.” Hopefully, that and his working relationship with returning commissioners can help bridge the divide that has existed between the two sides. And it’s worth noting that, while Howard’s stance as a commissioner was not to simply open the vault to public schools, he has consistently advocated for public education even when some members of the Board of County Commissioners did not.