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Siddiqui elected as Howard County Board of Education chair

The Howard County Board of Education has two new members and a new chairperson.

Newcomers Bess Altwerger and Christine O'Connor along with incumbent Cindy Vaillancourt were sworn into office Monday for four-year terms.

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Incumbent Sandie French, the fourth candidate elected in November's general election, is out of the country and will take the oath of office at the next meeting.

Following the swearing in ceremony, Dr. Janet Siddiqui, who has served on the board since 2007, was elected to serve a one-year term as chair of the eight-member board of education.

She succeeds Ellen Flynn Giles, who has twice served as chair of the board. Siddiqui was unopposed in her nomination.

Current board vice chair Ann De Lacy was reelected to the post albeit with some dispute.

Following De Lacy's nomination for the position, Vaillancourt nominated Sandie French for the position of vice chair, but since French is out of the country and has yet to be sworn in for her next term, Howard County Public School System legal counsel advised the board that French was not eligible for nomination.

Vaillancourt then asked the board to delay the election until the next meeting, but the proposal was voted down 5-2.

Vaillancourt and Altwerger supported the measure.

In a final attempt, Vaillancourt nominated herself for the vice chair position, but the Board of Education ultimately elected De Lacy over Vaillancourt by a 5-2 vote.

Again, Vaillancourt and Altwerger voted together supporting Vaillancourt's nomination for the position.

After taking the oath of office, Altwerger, O'Connor and Vaillancourt took time to thank their families and voters for their support throughout the campaign.

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