James D. Thornton and Ronald Browning have been appointed to the Harford County Board of Education by Governor Martin O’Malley.
Thornton, of Bel Air, is owner of Thorwood Real Estate. He is also Treasurer on the Board of Directors for the Baltimore Museum of Art and Board Member of the New Harford Democratic Club.
Browning owns a bed and breakfast in Harve de Grace, where he lives. He is a former teacher and newspaper columnist.
Browning and Thornton will fill the seats recently vacated by Board Member Don Osman, who declined to seek a second term and Mark Wolkow, who departed the board before the end of his term to pursue an employment opportunity. The move expands the board to nine members from the current seven members and is among the steps in a transition from an appointed school board to a board that will be a blend of three appointed and six elected members by 2014.
Thornton was appointed in April to the Harford County Liquor Control Board by County Executive David Craig, with the unanimous approval of the County Council, but notably without the support of the Harford County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis. The delegation refused to take a vote on Thornton’s appointment earlier this year, according to delegation chairman Del. Rick Impallaria, because the majority of the delegation is Republican and Thornton is a Democrat. Impallaria said the Republican majority should be reflected in the makeup of the liquor board, but that the delegation declined to vote at all rather than vote down Thornton, who is African American, to avoid charges of racism. The delegation had previously rejected the reappointment of a Democrat and African American, William Jiles, to the liquor board, which Impallaria told The Dagger was also based on Jiles’ party affiliation and not his race.
Of Thornton’s appointment to the Board of Education, Impallaria said he found Thornton to be a “nice guy,” but didn’t know him well and added that he didn’t think Thornton should serve on both the liquor board and the school board at the same time.
Both Browning and Thornton will serve four year terms that officially began on July 1. They will be sworn in on July 11, along with Nancy Reynolds, a retired principal of Bel Air Middle School and Joseph Hau, a business owners from North Harford, whose appointments were announced in April.
Also being sworn in on July 11 will be elected school board members Cassandra Beverley, representing Fallston, Bob Frisch representing Edgewood/ Joppatowne, and Rick Grambo of North Harford. Both Frisch and Grambo had previously serve don the board as interim appointees, to replace two other board members who left before their respective terms ended on June 30.
The newly elected and appointed members of the Board of Education of Harford County will be sworn in on Monday, July 11 at 3:00 p.m. in the Board Room of the A.A. Roberty Building in Bel Air. Board members’ families and friends will be in attendance, as well as local elected officials and Harford County Public Schools Leadership Team members.
Following the swearing-in ceremony, the group of seven will join sitting board members Leonard Wheeler and Alysson Krchnavy at a board business meeting where the new nine-member board will elect a board president and vice-president two-year terms. The board business meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the HCPS A.A. Roberty Building in Bel Air.
Here’s some more information on each of the appointments:
Jim’s career spans over 34 years working in large organizations as a general manager and at the senior management level. During his 27 years with Sears, Roebuck and Company, his responsibilities increased from Retail Store Manager to Vice President, Automotive Group. The automotive group was a $1.5 billion business, with over 850 automotive centers and 20,000 employees. After early retirement from Sears, Jim became Senior Executive Vice President at MBNA America Bank, N.A. MBNA at the time was the world’s largest independent credit card company. During his seven years with MBNA, Jim was responsible for several business lines; Specialty Insurance, Sports Marketing and staff functions (Recruitment, Quality Assurance and Director of Diversity).
Jim’s role with Thorwood is to assist in the development of strategy and to lend his vast experience as a general manager in the execution of business strategies. In addition, Jim’s role is to position Thorwood as a growth developer in the Mid-Atlantic real estate market. Jim has a BA in Economics from Talladega College.
Hello, I’m Ron Browning, your host and the proprietor of La Cle D’or Guesthouse.
A native Marylander, I moved to Havre de Grace to open the guesthouse in 1994. The town is a great place to visit but also a wonderful place to live. When you visit I will try to make your getaway a truly memorable experience. Since I live on the premises, I am at your disposal to help you plan your stayover. Most of our business is weekend getaways so I advise you to book your rooms as early as you can.
At present, I teach in a public high school, teaching U.S. history, world history, archeology, and African-American studies. I also teach an adult evening course at the community college level in Spanish language. Since I have a variety of interests you will notice a number of collections and artifacts from my travels throughout the home – antiques, Civil War, Delftware, Imariware, botanical, and foreign cultures to name just a few.
Check back with The Dagger for more details.