Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

FCC instructor seeks school board seat

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Twenty years ago, Joseph Mayo started teaching classes at Frederick Community College. Now, the semi-retired veterinarian feels he could get more involved in the public education system in Frederick County.

Mayo seeks a seat on the school board so he can address concerns he developed during his experience teaching students at Frederick Community College.

‘‘Part of it is that I’ve always been interested in teaching,” he said. ‘‘I think I could be useful because of the background that I have. After all, I do teach [Frederick County Public Schools’] product and have been for the last 20 years.”

Mayo, 82, is one of 12 candidates running for the Board of Education during the Feb. 12 primary. After the primary, six candidates will proceed to the general election in November to compete for three open seats on the Board of Education.

Mayo moved from Alabama to Frederick County 30 years ago, due to his work on pre-clinical drug development for the National Cancer Institute. Today, Mayo continues working with the organization and teaches two classes at Frederick Community College.

Mayo’s work at the college has helped him formulate many of the issues and questions he has as a board candidate.

One topic he would like to address is the fact that many students he teaches at FCC have to take remedial classes.

‘‘I am surprised by the number,” he said. ‘‘And it’s not only math ...”

He believes one of the biggest challenges for the system is to address the needs of all students, including those who need help and those achieving above standards.

Mayo said a combined approach that could include home-schooling or a charter school is the best way to achieve top-notch education for all. Mayo used a combination of home-schooling and college-level courses when his son, who has special needs, was going through the Frederick County Public Schools system.

‘‘I think a good, well-planned charter school can be good for the system,” said Mayo, who is also a firm supporter of parent involvement.

According to Mayo, it is teachers who play a central role in the education of Frederick County students. To do that, teachers should not only be experts in their subject area, but also be able to motivate students to learn and achieve, Mayo said.

‘‘I think we need good, qualified teachers,” he said.

With increases in teacher salaries and a range of incentives for teachers, Frederick County has been taking steps in the right direction, Mayo said. The county would have to continue moving along these lines in order to attract and keep these qualified teachers, he said.

Frederick County’s teachers’ salaries should rank among the top in the state, he said.

‘‘I know they are giving bonuses and good incentives,” he said. ‘‘But we have a fairly affluent county. Frederick County should be in the upper echelon in this area.”

Joseph Mayo

Age: 82

Family status: married; two grown children

Education: bachelor’s degree in chemistry; master’s in physiology from Auburn University, Alabama

Residence: Frederick

Professional background: Semi-retired veterinarian; teaches classes at Frederick Community College; worked in cancer research at the National Cancer Institute for more than 30 years