BERLIN – Newcomers Bill Gordy and Eric Cropper will join two incumbents to take seats on the Worcester County Board of Education following this week’s election.
Long-time incumbents Doug Dryden, who was unopposed, and Bob Rothermel will return to their seats on the school board while Gordy will take the seat vacated by Donnie Shockley, who did not seek re-election, and Cropper defeated long-time Board member Bob Hulburd in Tuesday’s election.
“I’m excited,” said Gordy, a life-long Worcester County resident and former Worcester Technical High School teacher.
Gordy earned 58 percent of the District 4 votes to come out ahead of fellow candidate Scott Baker. Gordy is a familiar face to many in the school system. After spending 25 years as a Maryland State Police detective, he developed the criminal justice program at Worcester Technical High School. He remained an instructor in the program until last year.
“I enjoyed teaching so much that I thought serving on the board I could be of use,” the Snow Hill resident said. “I had a great time working within the educational system.”
Gordy says that although his term does not technically begin until January, he will be attending the next two school board meetings to get a head start on understanding current issues.
“I’m excited to get in and see what’s going on,” he said.
According to Rothermel, a 12-year veteran of the school board, two major education issues at the moment are Maryland’s College and Career-Ready standards and school construction. Rothermel says those issues are what prompted him to run for reelection.
“We had some unfinished business,” he said.
Rothermel wants to see the renovations at Snow Hill High School finished and work started at Showell Elementary School. The nearly 40-year-old school has been outgrown and is set to be replaced in the near future.
“It’s been part of our mission for the last couple years,” he said.
Rothermel said concerns about Showell Elementary were a “common refrain” in his talks with community members.
“We’ve got an entire grade sitting outside in trailers,” he said, referring to the school’s collection of portable classrooms.
Rothermel, an Ocean City resident, added that he would like to see Ocean Pines-area fourth-graders return to the Showell Elementary School where they belong. Because of the lack of space there, they currently attend Berlin Intermediate School, which is becoming overcrowded as well.
Cropper, elected to represent District 6 on the school board, says he’s excited to begin serving the community. As a graduate of Stephen Decatur High School, Cropper said he was aware of the quality of Worcester County’s schools and wanted to make sure that quality was maintained.
“I’m concerned because education today faces a number of challenges,” he said, “from changes in standards to funding issues. I am ready to work with the other board members in coming to solutions that will always keep the students’ best interests at heart.”
Cropper, a local Realtor, said he hoped to “build a bridge” between parents, educators, administrators and county officials.
“We may not always agree on every issue but I will listen to all sides and examine the entirety of every issue,” he said.
Unofficial Board of Education results, as of Thursday, were District 4, Gordy, 1,276 votes (58%), Scott Baker, 911 (42%); District 6, Eric Cropper, 1,212 votes (56%), Hulburd, 1,174 (43%); District 7, Rothermel, 1,434 votes (67%), JeriLyn Holston, 701, (33%).