Ex-school board member plans no slowdown

The Baltimore Sun

Diane Mikulis may have closed the book on her tenure as a member of the county school board, but she is showing no signs of slowing down.

The Glenelg resident is going to shift her attention back to family, friends and some of the volunteer activities that she did not have enough time for while serving on the board the past four years.

Mikulis, 50, said she plans to devote more time to working with the Boy Scouts and Special Olympics. Last week, Mikulis accompanied a Scout troop on a camping trip on the Appalachian Trail. This week, she will head to Colorado to work as a ski instructor with Special Olympics participants.

"It's exciting," she said. "I'm looking forward to it."

Mikulis has demonstrated that she can switch gears in a flash. A week before, she attended her final board meeting, where there were plenty of smiles, funny anecdotes and even a few tears.

"I had to think very carefully about what I said so that I wouldn't break down," she said Tuesday.

Mikulis told the packed boardroom at her final meeting that she had enjoyed her stint on the board. On Tuesday, she said it was tough to pick her top moment on the board.

"These past two years have been really great," she said. "When I was chairman, I felt that we had a terrific board and that we worked together really well. I liked that feeling of teamwork."

The mother of three boys (ages 20, 15 and 11), Mikulis joined the board in 2004. Before that, she was a freelance community correspondent.

She spent 10 years working with the PTA and was growth-and-planning coordinator at three schools. She also served on the school system redistricting committee.

Once on the board, Mikulis distinguished herself as a quick study, with the ability to work effectively with others.

"We didn't always get along," Mikulis said. "After we disagreed, we moved on. There was no hidden agenda."

Superintendent Sydney L. Cousin had high praise for Mikulis.

"She was an excellent board member and an excellent chairperson," he said. "She always kept the focus on the students."

Now Mikulis is ready for the next phase of her life.

"I'm just really going back to what it was before," Mikulis said. "I'm putting my family first and ... possibly getting back to writing."

She has not ruled out a possible return to the board.

"Maybe," she said. "But I have absolutely no plans yet."

Meanwhile, the top three vote-getters in the Nov. 4 election - Janet Siddiqui, Ellen Flynn Giles and Allen Dyer - will be sworn in to four-year terms on the board at 4 p.m. tomorrow in Ellicott City. Siddiqui and Giles won re-election, while Dyer is a newcomer who will replace Mikulis.

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