Tomlinson: Kiler stands out among Board of Education field

Recently, Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio, possibly the next Speaker of the House, spoke at Martin’s Westminster at a fundraiser for the Carroll County Republican Central Committee. Representative Jordan spoke about his faith, politics, family and even his days as an amateur wrestler. What registered with me above all else was when he spoke about how in America, ordinary people can do extraordinary things. Out of all the lines that night, that particular excerpt stuck with me. I kept thinking to myself, who do I know that embodies this quote?

Over the last year, I have had the distinct pleasure of getting to know Kenny Kiler. There is a good chance you may know Kenny as well, or you’ve at least heard about him. That is because Kenny is running for the Board of Education here in Carroll County.


The BOE is made up of five elected board members who oversee the Carroll County Public School system. Three board seats are up for grabs, with six candidates heading into the general election on Nov. 6. There are several great men and women who deserve your vote for BOE, but it is Kenny who stands out amongst the crowded field.

Kenny is a life-long resident of Carroll, graduating from North Carroll High School in 1968. In addition to graduating from Washington College, he served eight years in the Maryland Army National Guard, where he became an officer. Kenny went onto to marry Rhonda and have three children, all of whom graduated from public schools here in Carroll.

However, it is Kenny’s accomplishments in both the community and in business that I believe are most impressive and have best suited him for a position on the BOE. Kenny began working in 1974 as a summer laborer for CJ Miller Inc., a local Hampstead construction company. He worked his way up through the ranks, becoming the company’s Vice President; a position he held for decades. Kenny is currently the Executive VP of Stewart & Tate Inc., a construction company out of York, Pennsylvania. For both companies, Kenny has played a pivotal role in contract negotiations, project management and the hiring and managing of employees.

Kenny has been giving back to his local community for more years than I have been alive. Starting back in 1973, he founded the Manchester Wrestling program. He coached hundreds of wrestlers over the years, including his son who went onto wrestle and graduate from Harvard University. After decades of running the wrestling program and teaching young men the fundamentals of amateur wrestling, he was awarded the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Lifetime Service to Wrestling award in 2009.

It is Kenny’s experience as a father and grandfather, coach, recreational council leader, and business executive that gives Kenny a unique perspective that would greatly benefit the BOE. A member of the school board must remember that every decision he or she makes will affect the students, parents and teachers of CCPS. At the same time, a member is also in charge of a budget of over $300 million and is forced to make tough decisions on everything from public safety to the future of dozens of school facilities. If elected to the BOE, Kenny will be able to use his experience in the community and in business to present innovative solutions to the problems our public school system currently faces.

Kenny, a staunch conservative, has received rare bipartisan support. He not only received the endorsement of the Carroll County Republican Central Committee, but also received the endorsement of the Carroll County Education Association (CCEA) and the Carroll Association of School Employees (CASE).

I was introduced to Kenny through mutual friends early this year. I am always happy to help eager candidates who seek public office and want to make a positive difference in local government. But more times than not, the candidate does not fully commit and does not put in the required time and effort. That has not been the case with Kenny. It is hard for me to remember the last time someone worked as hard to meet voters across the county and spread his message. In addition to attending numerous candidate forums, public meetings, and fundraisers, Kenny has spent nearly every Saturday since last winter knocking on doors, from Taneytown to Sykesville and everywhere in between. Kenny and I have found ourselves on more than one occasion knocking on the door of a hopeful supporter in the pouring rain. Rather than give up and go home, Kenny and I ignored the torrential downpour and continued knocking — despite how foolish and/or determined we looked. Such effort spent on grass-roots campaigning is a sure sign that a candidate is a work horse and not a show horse, and an indication of how the candidate will act while in office.

With 49 percent of our county tax dollars going towards the CCPS in Fiscal Year 2019, it is imperative that we elect BOE members who will not come to the board expecting to learn on the job, but come ready to do the job. Kenny is an ordinary man who has done extraordinary things in his career and his personal life. On Nov. 6, I will be voting for Kenny Kiler because I know he can do the same for the BOE.

Christopher Tomlinson