Whilden, Foster are top school board nominees


The county's School Board Nominating Convention selected Margarett Whilden of Amberly and Joseph H. Foster of Linthicum Wednesday night out of 15 candidates vying for two spots on the county's school board.

Their names and those of the second runners-up will be submitted to Gov. William Donald Schaefer, who must choose the new board members by July for five-year terms on the eight-member board.

The governor's choices will replace Nancy W. Gist, who represents legislative District 32, the northwestern part of the county, and Paul Greksa, who holds an at-large seat. Both members decided not to seek second terms.

Whilden, a management consultant, won 92 of 279 votes, the highest total for the at-large seat. Michael A. Pace of Edgewater was the runner-up with 77 votes.

Foster, an information systems manager with Westinghouse, received 141 out of 278 votes for the District 32 seat. He edged Elizabeth Greene of Hanover, the only other candidate running for that seat. Greene received 131 votes.

Whilden, a former assistant superintendent for finance at a Colorado school district, said she "understands how school districts work and what their problems are.

"I had a growing concern, having worked with principals in our area and listening to them talk about their problems," added Whilden, the president of the Lower Broadneck Federation of Communities.

"I read the papers and see the continuing problems with school board and county officials," she said, stressing that she would work to patch up those rifts.

Foster, board chairman of the Crestwood Improvement Association, could not be reached yesterday.

When he submitted his resume to the nominating convention, he wrote that his "background and business experience" gave him the ability to "contribute to the successful functioning of the school board."

In addition to his work at Westinghouse, he has been acting clerk of the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court and active in civic, church and youth organizations.

His role as a member of the Citizens' Advisory committees at the schools his sons attend has "given me the opportunity to become aware of the issues that confront our schools," he added.

More than 125 church, civic and community organizations were represented at the convention, held at Severna Park High School.

After a series of forums, the delegates chose two candidates for each available seat. Their names are sent to the county executive, who forwards them, along with his recommendations, to the governor.

In the past, executives have angered convention members by advising the governor to choose someone other than their nominees. County Executive Robert R. Neall has promised to "honor the process," convention organizers said.

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