The St. Mary's County Board of Education elected John K. Parlett Jr., a local businessman voted onto the board last year, as its chairman this week.

Parlett, who has been vice chairman this year, takes over the job from Michael L. Hewitt, who held it for two years.

A native of St. Mary's County, Parlett, a 44-year-old father of four, said his background in business is an asset to the school board. Parlett works in commercial construction and owns a mail order company that caters to the motor sports industry.

"The school system, it's not a business and it has its own special needs, but there are many aspects of the school system that need to be treated in a business-type of manner," he said.

Parlett said his management skills will help him run an efficient school board. "I've got the ability to bring diverse group of people to consensus," he said.

Elected vice chairman at the board's Wednesday night meeting was Stephen Kracinovich, a Leonardtown resident and an engineering manager. In 1996, Kracinovich lost a bid for a spot on the school board. He was named to the board last January when Julie B. Randall vacated her spot to become president of the Board of County Commissioners.

Kracinovich, 38, has two children in St. Mary's schools. He has been active in special education issues and has a son in special education classes. Kracinovich has served on the school board's Budget Advisory Committee and its Growth Management Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations on redistricting.