After 12 years of working with the school system, John D.
Myers Jr., the Carroll County school board's elder statesman, has decided to move on.
Mr. Myers, 50, will not run for re-election in November. Eight people so far, including incumbent Carolyn L. Scott, are vying for the two school board seats that will be open.
The challengers are Gary V. Bauer, Laura E. Albers, Carole M. "Cyd" Pecoraro, Michael R. Baker, Deborah J. Paisie, Deborah J. Winter and Thomas Hiltz.
"It's primarily personal commitments," Mr. Myers said from his Westminster home yesterday. "I have made a commitment to my occupation and increased my workload."
Mr. Myers, a farmer and lifelong Carroll resident, farms 3,000 acres -- mostly fruits and vegetables -- and lives in the home on Old Bachman Valley Road where he was reared.
He is the board president, an office he has held before.
Mr. Myers has been among the most outspoken board members, whether debating with county commissioners or taking a strong stand to support sex education materials.
He often prefaces his remarks with a folksy, "I'm just an old farm boy, but . . . "
"He is very concerned about the children of Carroll County and tries to do what's best for them," said Mrs. Scott. "He's a very busy man, and you have to give credit to someone who takes on a job like this with all the other things he has had to do."
Though not surprised by Mr. Myers' decision, Mrs. Scott said she is disappointed.
"This is what he had indicated all along, but I was hoping he'd change his mind," she said. "Twelve years is a long time, but still, I wish he had decided to run again."
When his term expires in January, Mr. Myers said, he will be satisfied that he has helped Carroll schools provide students with a strong education.
"It's been an interesting 12 years. I've seen a lot of progress, and I'm glad to think that I have been at least a part of that.
"I have to believe that the high points [of his term] have to be that we have truly developed a high quality of education in Carroll County," he said. "I sincerely believe the school system has improved over the past six to eight years."
He said, "Some of the low points have been the lack of funding we have had at times for education."
Mr. Myers said he is confident the school board will continue to foster the community's growing interest in education.
"I also hope they continue to focus on maintaining the good relationship between the community and the school system," he said. "I know they will work to that end, to support the community and say 'let's work together.'
"I would also hope that the school board continues to focus on a better education for the kids rather than on the politics as much as possible," he said.
Mr. Myers was a past member of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce board of directors and a member of the Carroll Community College Advisory Board.
He was a past recipient of the Master Farmers Award and the Outstanding Farmer of Maryland award.
"It has been a good tenure. I've seen a lot of good things happen in the system and I've met a lot of good people," Mr. Myers said.
"We've got a good system here, nowhere close to perfect, but it's a good system. Kids here can get a quality education."