Schmoke nominates new school board Philip H. Farfel named president


Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke yesterday nominated a new Board of School Commissioners, including six brand-new members.

Mr. Schmoke nominated Philip H. Farfel, 40, a current board member and an administrator at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, as president of the new board. The nominations will be formally introduced at Monday's City Council meeting.

"I think the selection of folks is wonderful," said Council President Mary Pat Clarke, who last week introduced a bill NTC calling for a mostly elected school board. "The most important thing I am looking for is an activist, responsive school board that works with the superintendent and the mayor to run these schools to excellence. I think this is just a great crowd of people."

Mr. Schmoke chose his nominees from a list of 53 prospective members given to him by a nominating committee. The current members' terms all expired Dec. 31, although the mayor has 120 days to fill expired seats while the members remain in place.

The nominations are all for four-year terms. The City Council will hold hearings before holding a confirmation vote on the nominees.

Ms. Clarke said that she is so pleased with Mr. Schmoke's nominees that she plans to delay indefinitely any council action on her bill to create an elected school board.

"Right now, this group of people looks like the best argument for taking time before we take a look at that legislation," she said.

Mr. Schmoke could not be reached for comment yesterday. And Mr. Farfel, the new president, declined to comment on his nomination until after it was formally brought before the council.

In making his nominations, Mr. Schmoke only retained three current board members: Mr. Farfel; Lloyd T. Bowser, a manager with the federal Office of Personnel Management; and Arnita McArthur, a teacher at the New Community College of Baltimore.

The six new nominees are:

* Mary E. Robinson, an administrator at Morgan State University.

* John S. Ward, a member of the Inmate Grievance Commission and a retired Baltimore County school administrator.

* Rosalind D. Wilson, program director of the Baltimore Literacy Commission.

* Catherine P. Felter, an administrative assistant at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

* Redmond C. S. Finney, headmaster of the Gilman School.

* Charles L. Maker, a United Parcel Service executive.

"These are the kind of people I envisioned coming in from an elected board," Ms. Clarke said.

Before Mr. Schmoke made his nominations, there were two vacancies on the board.

The current board has been criticized for lacking activism and being unresponsive to public concerns. That criticism, voiced by Ms. Clarke and others, reached new heights when the board took no public position on Mr. Schmoke's plans to close schools for a week to absorb a large cut in state aid.

Mr. Schmoke backed away from the plan under pressure from state officials and parent activists.

Being replaced by Mr. Schmoke are board members Meldon S. Hollis Jr., Mr. Schmoke's first board president; James E. Cusack; Stelios Spiliadis, the board's vice president; and Joseph Lee Smith, the current president who has served on the board longer than 12 years.

Mr. Smith said that he had served the maximum amount of time on the board allowed by law. He also said that he talked to the mayor who "was very appreciative for what I tried to contribute to the board."

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