Henry Lee, a dentist from Derwood who has long been active in school and community matters, will be sworn in to a seat on the Montgomery County Board of Education next Thursday.
Lee replaces Reginald M. Felton, a board member since 1994 who stepped down because he is moving out of District 5, which covers an eastern chunk of the county that includes Olney, Burtonsville, Brookeville and parts of Silver Spring. Lee will serve the remainder of Felton's term, which lasts until 2006.
Maryland counties select replacement school board members by different methods. In some places they are chosen by the county executive. In Montgomery, they are appointed by sitting members.
Lee received four of seven votes June 17. The ballots were cast without discussion. Board members Charles Haughey, Walter Lange, Pat O'Neill and Gabe Romero voted for Lee. Kermit V. Burnett and student member Sagar Sanghvi voted for Ruby Rubens, an educational consultant and former school system ombudsman. President Sharon W. Cox voted for Mary Edwards, the PTSA president at Benjamin Banneker Middle School.
The other two finalists, selected from 17 applicants, were attorneys Philip Kauffman and Leslie Karas Ridgway.
Lee had run for an at-large seat on the board in 2002, losing to Haughey 52 percent to 47 percent in an amicable race.
"I'm glad to be sitting beside him," Haughey said Tuesday. "He's very thoughtful, a very considerate man in every way. . . . He has a good grounding in the concerns that parents are bringing to us day by day."
Lee, 53, came to Montgomery County in the late 1960s. His wife is a science teacher at Col. Zadok Magruder High School in Rockville; he has twins entering ninth grade there and one entering fifth grade at Sequoyah Elementary School in Derwood.
He is a co-chairman of the Montgomery County School Health Council, which advises the Board of Education on matters from nutrition to sex education to hand-washing, and was appointed by County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) to the Interagency Coordinating Board, which oversees the public use of school facilities.
O'Neill, who heard Lee at many candidate forums when both were running in 2002, said that while the candidate slate was impressive -- and the board heard many pleas from residents about various candidates -- Lee stood out.
"He shares many of my attitudes and beliefs about Montgomery County public schools and where we need to go," she said. "I found him an incredibly articulate, gracious man."
Lee said in an interview Tuesday that one of his primary concerns will be working to involve families who come to the country with little experience in education, as his parents did long ago when they arrived from China.
"One of the big things that I see is getting people who are not accustomed to this kind of system into the system," Lee said.
Three other seats will be contested in the November general election: Cox will defend her at-large seat against engineer Tommy Le; Lange will defend the District 2 Rockville-Potomac seat against venture capitalist and county Republican chairman Stephen Abrams; and County Council aide Valerie Ervin and law firm webmaster Sheldon Fishman will compete for the District 4 Silver Spring seat.