State school board member Blair Ewing dies
Anyone who was a frequent visitor to state school board meetings over the past year knew that when Blair Ewing raised his hand to ask a question, it was time to perk up and listen because you knew he was likely to get straight to the heart of the issue. He was always a gentleman, polite and respectful, but he could also boil down all the education jargon to ask simple questions that exposed the core of a problem. He didn't mind putting the staff of the state department on the spot and more than once asked for more information or suggested a different course of action. Lately, he had taken a great interest in finding a way for students in Maryland to take an international test that would expose how well they compared to those in other countries.
Ewing, who lived in Montgomery County and served on the school board there for many years, died today. He had been active on the state board through May. I asked the chair of the board for his thoughts. Here is what James DeGraffenreidt said: "Personally, I enjoyed the fact that he exhibited such a consistent, positive tone even when there were substantive disagreements over major policy issues. The fact that he always prepared well and listened to everyone's point of view made the state board more effective. We certainly will miss him and express our deepest sympathy to his family."