Larry Walker, a pastor who was the winner of the inaugural Comcast Parent Involvement Award last year, has filed paperwork with the Howard County Board of Elections to run for one of four available school board seats in 2010.
Walker, 51, who graduated from Wilde Lake High School in 1976 and is the parent of two Mount Hebron High School graduates, said he wants to take his longtime involvement in the school system to the next level.
"I've been involved in public education for 20 years," Walker said. "I see what some of the challenges are. I've seen what type of impact I have had. I want to do this at the policy level."
Walker won the inaugural Comcast Parent Involvement Matters Award last year. Said to be the only one of its kind, the award recognizes parents and guardians who excel in five areas of involvement: communication, volunteering, learning, decision making and community collaboration. Parents can be nominated by school personnel, other parents, community members and students.
Walker won because of his involvement at Mount Hebron High, where he started a program for African-American males at the school. He is also a former PTA president there. Walker has also spent the past four years serving on the citizens committee that reviews the school system's operating budget process.
Walker's wife of 22 years, Alfreda, is a teacher at Stevens Forest Elementary in Howard County. Their two sons graduated from Mount Hebron High in 2004 and 2008.
In addition to having 23 years of corporate business experience, Walker has also worked as a staff pastor at Celebrations Church in Columbia for the past five years.
"As a person who cares deeply about helping people and has a profound respect for our diversity, I will look at issues and study all the implications," Walker said. "It's critical that the board's decisions be made with as much information as possible."
This is not Walker's first attempt to join the school board. In 2007, he approached County Executive Ken Ulman about the position on the board vacated by Mary Kay Sigaty, who left to serve on the County Council. Ulman ultimately chose current board member Janet Siddiqui to fill that position.
As of Wednesday, one other person had filed to run for the school board: David Proudfoot of Ellicott City.