Waller, Malone named to Wicomico school board

Two new Wicomico County Board of Education members will join the panel of seven at the next meeting, July 12, after being appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan.

Gene Malone and Maria Waller will be sworn in by the county’s Clerk of the Circuit Court before the meeting.

Matt Clark, director of communications for the governor’s office, said the appointees are “strong advocates for education.”

“We are confident they will work hard on behalf of the people of Wicomico County,” he said.

School board President Don Fitzgerald said he’s eager to work with the pair, named by Hogan on June 23, but “a little upset because Kim Hudson didn’t get reappointed.”

“That part really hurts, but that’s the governor’s decision,” Fitzgerald said of Hudson, who serves as board vice president.

“It’s a shame we are going to lose somebody who really has a great interest in education. But, the two new ones, we’ll work together,” Fitzgerald said.

He and Malone have coached together and know each other. He said he hasn’t yet met Waller.

School board members are paid an annual stipend of about $3,700.

Malone, whose 80-year-old parents, wife and three sons all graduated from Wicomico County schools, said he applied directly to the governor’s office. A Republican, he did not take part in the Republican Central Committee’s interview process.

He applied because the school system has been good to his family, he said, and he has been active in coaching and the PTA. His wife encouraged him to also get involved with the school board, he said.

“I’ll give it my very best,” Malone, 59 said this week.

He is M&T Bank’s regional manager for the Eastern Shore and Sussex County.

Waller, 55 and a native of Chile and an American citizen, did not apply for the school board position but was contacted by Culver’s office about serving.

She said she is active in the Greater Salisbury Committee and has a passion for education, “especially before high school is over because I see types of jobs folks can get, and where they can get them, with a good education.”

“I think anyone who would look at this appointment seriously would say, ‘What can we do to make our graduates coming out of school, or even those starting school, understand how important education is?’ she said.

“It’s a big part of what your life is going to be.”

She and Malone will replace Hudson, along with the retiring Dr. Carolyn Elmore.

In May, Hudson, who is finishing her first partial term – four of five years – said she hoped to be reappointed.

She was interviewed by Republican Central Committee members, and also independently submitted her application to the governor’s office.

Mark McIver, chairman of the Republic Central Committee, whose members sent recommendations to the governor after meeting with candidates, said in May that five people were interviewed.

McIver did not reply to an e-mail request for comment this week.

In Wicomico County, school board members are appointed, but that could change after a referendum vote in November. Voters will decide if the system should remain unchanged, if school board members should be elected or if there should be a hybrid system, with some elected and some appointed.

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