BOE President Ron Willey Follows Through on Pledge to Hand Off Leadership Role
Changes Coming to Wicomico County Board of Education as Ron Willey Announces He Will Follow Through on Pledge to Step Aside as President, Don Fitzgerald is Reappointed, Two New Members to Join Board
Posted on 06/18/2015

The annual reorganization meeting of the Wicomico County Board of Education is almost a month away, on July 14, but at the close of the monthly meeting on June 9 longtime Board President Ron Willey made it clear he will follow through on his year-old pledge to step aside and make way for someone else to lead the Board.

In July 2014, after being elected by fellow Board members to serve another year as Board president (with Don Fitzgerald again serving as vice president), Mr. Willey said he was humbled by the Board’s desire for him to continue serving as its President, a position that carries great responsibility and commitment of time. He said that in July 2015 he would complete his service as President and would look to others on the Board to step up and lead, as transition is important for any board or organization. Mr. Willey’s second and last term on the Board will end in 2017.

“I love this school system, I love it with all my heart. I want the best for it, and I have given my life to it,” said Mr. Willey, who began his career as a teacher in 1962 and became a principal in 1969. He retired in 2006 as principal of Westside Intermediate and Westside Primary schools, and has served on the Board of Education since 2007. He has been Board President since July 2011.

Mr. Willey will preside over a special Board meeting scheduled for 8 a.m. Tuesday, June 23 to complete year-end business for the school system. At the start of its monthly meeting on July 14 at 7 p.m., the Board will reorganize as required by state law, electing a president and vice president for the next year.

During the June 9 Board meeting, Board members congratulated Vice President Don Fitzgerald on his long-awaited reappointment to a second term on the Board. Mr. Fitzgerald had submitted his request for reappointment to the governor last year, but under state rules his reappointment could not be considered until the gubernatorial election was decided. He was re-elected Board vice president last July, and continued to serve for nearly a year after his first term officially expired. He was sworn in for his second term on Monday, June 8 by Wicomico Clerk of the Court Mark S. Bowen.

“Having great confidence in your dedication to public service, it is my pleasure to reappoint you a member of the Wicomico County Board of Education for a term of five years from July 1, 2014,” wrote Gov. Larry Hogan in a June 1 letter to Mr. Fitzgerald.

The governor made two additional appointments to fill vacancies on the Wicomico Board of Education, acting on recommendations from the Wicomico County Republican Central Committee. Both appointees are eligible to begin serving as soon as they have been sworn in as Board members. It is anticipated that both new Board members will be sworn in prior to the June 23 meeting.

John Palmer of Delmar was appointed to complete the five-year term of Marvin L. J. Blye, who left the Board in February when he moved to Alabama for his career. Mr. Blye’s term was set to expire June 30, and Mr. Palmer was appointed to complete that term and begin a five-year term on July 1.

Joseph Ollinger of Salisbury was appointed to complete the five-year term of Larry Dodd, who left the Board Dec. 1 after being elected to serve on the Wicomico County Council. Mr. Ollinger’s term will run through June 30, 2018.

“Thank you for making this strong personal and professional commitment to serve the best interests of our citizens,” Gov. Hogan wrote to each of the three appointees.

Also serving on the Board of Education are Dr. Tyrone Chase, Dr. Carolyn Elmore, and Ms. Kim Hudson.