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Chairman Elected to Board of Education

Randy Scamihorn was elected chairman and Brad Wheeler vice chairman of the Cobb Board of Education on Wednesday.

On the same day that they became Cobb Board of Education members for the first time, Randy Scamihorn and Brad Wheeler were elected to lead it.

During Wednesday's organizational meeting, the board elected Scamihorn to serve as chairman for the 2013 calendar year and chose Wheeler vice chairman.

They assumed their new posts shortly after receiving the oath of office along with incumbents David Banks and David Morgan, who began their second terms.

The board also voted to set its 2013 official meeting calendar, with minor changes to the dates requested by Superintendent Michael Hinojosa.

The leadership results were a bit of a surprise, given previous public interest expressed in the chairman post by Morgan, last year's vice chairman but who was not nominated.

Tim Stultz, of Post 2 in the Smyrna area, was nominated for both chairman and vice chairman by fellow board member Kathleen Angelucci, but he received no other votes.

"The operational phrase is to get started," said Scamihorn, a Republican from Post 1 in Northwest Cobb.

A retired Cobb school teacher and administrator, Scamihorn was elected without opposition to succeed Lynnda Eagle, who did not seek another term.

Wheeler, also a Republican and a retired Cobb teacher and administrator, in November defeated incumbent Alison Bartlett in Post 7, which covers part of West Cobb.

Scamihorn and Wheeler take office as the school board is preparing to tackle another daunting budget process—with early projections of a $40 million deficit—and with the March 19 Cobb Education SPLOST IV referendum facing stiff odds of passing.

"We want to be good stewards," said Wheeler, who said one of his major priorities is to win and keep the trust of the public. "When times get tough, we're going to need some support.

"I'm going to work to help maintain the highest standard of public education we can afford, and that's a difficult thing to do right now."

Banks, of Post 5 in East Cobb, nominated Scamihorn for the chairman post, with other votes coming from Wheeler and Scott Sweeney of East Cobb's Post 6.

Sweeney nominated Wheeler for vice chairman, with other votes coming from Scamihorn, Morgan and Banks.

Morgan, who remains the board's only Democrat after Bartlett's departure, was silent throughout the meeting, and bypassed making comments during the public swearing-in ceremony presided over by Cobb State Court Judge Marsha Lake.

After the meeting, he expressed his disappointment about the leadership elections and was asked whether he thought partisan considerations were a factor.

"Most definitely, yes," said Morgan, re-elected to Post 3 in South Cobb. "But that's the way the cookie crumbles."

Scamihorn acknowledged the learning curve he faces as a new board member and as chairman, but also pointed to his background as a retired military officer to help him prepare.

He also said he acknowledged the inevitable disagreements that will come up between board members.

"I know I might get zinged once in a while," Scamihorn said with a smile, "but I ask just be fair about it."

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