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HCEA doesn't support Board of Education incumbents

Turning its back on three members running for re-election, the Howard County Education Association announced Tuesday, March 13 that it is supporting first-time candidates Jackie Scott and Ann De Lacy and second-time candidate David Gertler for the Board of Education.

"These three are a great combination of independence, experience and new blood," said HCEA president Paul Lemle.

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The union, made up of more than 5,000 educators, decided not to endorse incumbents Ellen Giles, Janet Siddiqui and Allen Dyer.

The primary is scheduled April 3, when residents will vote for three of 14 candidates. The top six finishers will compete in November's general election.

The African American Coalition of Howard County announced March 8 its support for six candidates — De Lacy, Scott, Giles, Siddiqui and two other first-time candidates Corey Andrews and Olga Butler.

Both HCEA and AACHC had high praise for Scott and De Lacy, former HCEA president.

"If Howard County is serious about raising the school system to a higher level, then Ann De Lacy is the answer," said the AACHC in a news release. "She has a deep educational background and doesn't mind one bit augmenting that background with reasonable, out-of-the-box thinking ... Her only weakness is that she's light years ahead of many here in Howard County in terms of education policy, standards and procedures."

The HCEA echoed the those accolades.

"With over 39 years devoted to public education, Ann De Lacy has more experience than the current Board of Education members combined," Lemle said. "(She) has a long and decorated history of fighting for greater transparency at the Board of Education, for increased public access to information and for tailoring education in Howard County to the needs of particular communities."

In endorsing Scott, the coalition said she "knows very well the relationship that should exist between the parent, the school and the community."

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For the same reasons, the HCEA endorsed her as well.

"Jackie knows quality education starts with great educators, and that their creativity and innovation come from support from the entire community," Lemle said. "Her first priority is to develop a dialogue and a partnership with her employees."

In regards to Gertler, a Towson University professor who ran for the board in 2010, HCEA noted that his diverse experience — Master's degrees in business administration, electrical engineering and applied mathematics, and a career that includes stints as a technology executive, research scientist, electrical engineer and cryptomathematician — bring Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) expertise to the field.

"(His) long-term vision for school improvement includes innovative uses for technology in teaching and learning, plus plans for research and development in the digital classrooms of the future," Lemle said. "He believes front-line educators can drive the actions of the school board and should be engaged from the inception of new initiatives, policies and procedures."

The AACHC also is endorsing Andrews, at 17 the youngest candidate, for the "interesting" perspective he brings to the race, and Butler who, the release said, has insisted that the board and the school system be certain of the path they're on for the future.

The AACHC described Giles — who has served on the board since 2006 — as a "very renowned, highly-qualified candidate" and noted Siddiqui's management of the board's challenges during her time as chairwoman, from 2010-2011.

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