Beckman joins the fray

From his time in Tucson, Ariz., to life in Montgomery County, Md., Millville resident William L. Beckman was a career educator. After earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in elementary education and his master’s degree from the same school in the same subject, Beckman taught in an Arizona school for seven years before moving to Maryland.

There, he taught and served as an administrator in Montgomery County schools before retiring and moving to Millville in July of 1998.

Now, he will look to get back into the world of education when he runs against 29-year school board veteran Charles M. Bireley for the Indian River School District Board of Education’s Fourth District seat in the May 9 election.

“I just want to see than we provide a good program for our young people and do it in a way that it doesn’t kill the taxpayers,” said Beckman, who filed to run for the board seat on Feb. 10. “It’s a balance.”

Bireley, who is wrapping up his 10th term as an Indian River school board member said he filed to run again because he wants to help finish the district’s building phase.

After building two new high schools — Sussex Central and Indian River — the district is still renovating Lord Baltimore Elementary school in Ocean View, Georgetown Middle School — the former Sussex Central High School — and East Millsboro Elementary School. It is also awaiting the renovation of Millsboro Middle and Selbyville’s Southern Delaware School for the Arts.

“I want to see the completion of the building program,” Bireley said. Also, he added, “I enjoy doing it. It’s very rewarding if you do what’s best for the kids. It’s a good feeling.”

Bireley’s newest opponent likely knows the feeling to which he refers. After moving from Arizona to Maryland, Beckman taught elementary school students for 10 years before getting into the school’s administration.

Beckman served as an assistant principal at Lucy Barnsly Elementary School in Rockville, Md., from 1972 to 1976 before leaving, only to return in the early 1980s. From 1981 to 1996, he served as principal at the Montgomery County public school.

In ’96, before retiring after a two-year stint at another school, he bought a house in Millville at what he called the perfect time because of the rising cost of homes in the area. Beckman and his family had been vacationing in Bethany Beach since 1985 and after retiring in 1998, they moved to Millville, making the Delaware town their permanent home.

He now has three grandchildren enrolled in the Southern Delaware School for the Arts in Selbyville and said he is ready to get involved into education again. And although he has never served on a board of education before, he believes that his extensive background in the profession makes him more than qualified.

“I want to get involved in helping the school system,” he said.