Justin Hartings, a former Washington County school board member, has been named to the Maryland State Board of Education.
Herald-Mail Media reports,
Gov. Larry Hogan appointed Hartings, who served two elected terms on the Washington County board from 2008 to 2016, to fulfill an unexpired four-year term that began July 1, 2016, according to a May 22 letter from the governor’s office.
“Thank you for making this strong personal and professional commitment to serve the best interests of our citizens,” Hogan wrote in the letter. “I know you will succeed in our goal to make a positive difference for all Marylanders, especially with your assistance and support.”
Hartings might be the first Washington County representative to serve on the volunteer, 12-member state board, although that could not be immediately confirmed Tuesday.
“I don’t know that there’s ever been,” Hartings said, when asked if he was aware of any other county residents who might have served before him.
A spokesman for the Maryland State Department of Education said that home counties of board members are typically catalogued by the state, which doesn’t select members by region or county.
In any case, the 46-year-old Keedysville resident said that he is humbled by the appointment, calling it “a huge honor” to serve at the state level.
“I hope that it means that the governor and his office has recognized the great work we’ve done on the local board,” Hartings said. “When you go to Annapolis, Washington County just has a tremendous reputation.”
The county has been a leader in technology and innovation, highlighted by its digital-learning plan and public-private partnerships that have spawned the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts in downtown Hagerstown, Hartings said.
A former president and vice president on the nonpartisan local board, Hartings announced in January 2016 that he would not be seeking re-election to a third term, citing time constraints from work and other obligations.
He has a doctoral degree in applied physics from Yale University and is owner of Biaera Technologies, a Hagerstown-area company founded by Hartings that works with U.S. Army research scientists to study infectious diseases, like tuberculosis and influenza.
Hartings said he is looking forward to getting to work on important topics that affect schools statewide, including school construction and new regulations in accordance with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.
“There’s a lot going on in education right now,” he said. “It’s an exciting time, and I look forward to being a part of it.”
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