New member picked for G-A School Board

Shawn Hardy
Shannon Blanchard

A new member of the Greencastle-Antrim School Board was selected at Thursday night's meeting.

Shannon Blanchard replaces Linda Farley, who has moved to Hagerstown. The term runs through December 2019.

In addition to Blanchard, Weslie Johnson was interviewed by board members at the Oct. 18 meeting. A third applicant, Jonathan Markloff, has not lived in the district long enough to serve on the board.

Paul Politis, who made the motion to appoint Blanchard, said it was difficult deciding between the two candidates.

"It makes you wish you had two positions," added Tracy Baer, board president.

The board offered a split vote, with Pat Fridgen, Scott Hart, Mike Still, Politis and Baer voting yes and Shannon Yates, Eric Holtzman and Lindsey Mowen voting no.

As they did at the interview session, some board members noted there will be several seats up for re-election next year.

About Shannon Blanchard 

Blanchard's family includes husband Robert and children Autumn, a ninth-grader at Greencastle-Antrim High School, and Logan, a seventh-grader at Greencastle-Antrim Middle School. They moved to Greencastle in May 2016 after 14 years in Warfordsburg,

Blanchard is co-owner of Antietam Metals, LLC, a structural and miscellaneous steel fabricator in Williamsport, Md. Blanchard started working at the company two days a week is 2004 and when the owner wanted to retire, she and another long-time employee purchased the company in 2014. Her work includes human resources, safety, accounting and finances.

She decided to apply for the school board vacancy because "I might be able to offer a different view on critical choices."

The board must balance educating students with fiscal duty to residents of the district, she explained.

Blanchard said she has the time for the volunteer position and wants to offer insight and make a difference.

"A community is only as great as the people willing to make the community great," she said. "I hope to contribute in a positive way."

She has had varied experiences with the local schools, and wasn't impressed at the elementary level. At the middle school she feels "like they care about each and every child."

Her son is hearing impaired and "every teacher is on board with what needs to be done."

Teachers pushed her daughter, already an all-A student, "because they know what she is capable of."

Her daughter is challenged by honors courses at the high school and Blanchard tells her, "Challenges can only help you grow."

And Blanchard is ready to get on the board and up to speed on challenges the district faces.

She cited the district's lack of space and what should be done based on statistics such as enrollment projections, state funding and what is being asked of the taxpayers.

Changing school start times, with elementary-age children beginning the day earlier and secondary students coming in later, is under consideration for the district. Blanchard is opposed to changing start times.

"We covet sleep in our house," Blanchard said, explaining her kids don't have smartphones and there are no electronics after 7:30 p.m. They are in bed at 8:30 and can read until lights-out at 9.

Then they are "ready to rise and shine at 6 a.m."