Home-school educator eyes state post

COLUMBIA -- A Clemson woman who teaches her four daughters at home says she anticipates she will be nominated next week for the post of chairman-elect of the state Board of Education.

Kristin Maguire said Friday, "I have had many board members commit to me," but she stopped short of predicting victory.

The 17-member panel convenes Wednesday for its monthly meeting in Columbia.

John Tindal, the current board chairman and superintendent of Clarendon 2 schools, anticipates Maguire will be nominated, but was noncommittal about whom he plans to support.

"I'm going to vote for someone who can build consensus," Tindal said. "Anybody on the board is capable of being chairperson. Some people have certain skills that are suitable to be chair-elect."

Maguire is not the choice of a board subcommittee directed to recommend someone who would serve as chairman in 2009.

While the nominating committee will present Fred "Trip" DuBard III as the preferred candidate, nothing prevents another candidate from being nominated.

To win election, the candidate needs at least nine members' votes.

No other state has a home-school educator serving as chairman of its public education policymaking panel, according to a National Association of State Boards of Education spokesman. David Griffith said an Arkansas woman who home-schooled her children served as chairwoman earlier this decade.

DuBard, a Duke graduate, is a former journalist who, until recently, worked in his family's beverage business. A father of three children who attend Florence public schools, DuBard spends much of his time doing nonprofit foundation work in the Pee Dee area.

Maguire, who earned an engineering degree from Clemson University, has served on the state board since early 2000, when she was appointed to fill a seat vacated by a Greenville woman. She then got a legislative appointment to represent the 13th Judicial Circuit for four more years and since March 2003 has been the governor's representative.