During a brief news conference after the vote, Dance said he had had "frank and honest" meetings Tuesday with elected leaders, including legislators in Annapolis, the County Council and the county executive. Because the school board held a closed search, Tuesday was the first time Dance was in town and available to meet the public.
"We are going to have to work together to move this school system forward," Dance said.
Dance said he has been in touch with Baltimore City's school chief, Andrés Alonso, to see how they can work together to solve common issues. He noted that some students cross the city line and move between schools in the two jurisdictions.
He also met Tuesday with the current superintendent, Joe A. Hairston, whose contract ends in June.
Although he did not commit to any course of action, he said he was aware that the school system has an overcrowding problem and that communication would be a top priority. "We are going to build a collaborative relationship," he said.
He wants to eliminate the achievement gap between minority and low-income students and the rest of the school population, ask students what they think about their schools, and focus on improving low-performing schools.
Although Dance does not yet have a contract, the 30-year-old educator who got his start in Richmond, Va., will begin the job July 1. He is expected to be paid $255,000 each year for four years.
Dance introduced his 21/2-year-old son, Myles Dallas Dance, who sat in the second row in a seer sucker suit with matching tie, as the "love of my life." He said: "I work passionately because of that young man there," and added that being a parent had made the work more important to him.
Dance's mother, Leatrice Dance; his former wife, Sherita Dance; and his sister, Lakhesia Jones, drove up from Richmond for the board vote.