Interim Superintendent Mamie Perkins said this week she is not one of the more than 50 applicants seeking to become the next permanent superintendent of Anne Arundel County Public Schools, saying instead she'll honor her a one-year agreement that expires in June.
Last week was the deadline to apply for the superintendent's position, and Perkins told the Sun she did not enter her name for the job.
Perkins became interim superintendent in August when former superintendent Kevin Maxwell left to assume a similar role in Prince George's County.
A former deputy superintendent in Howard County, Perkins will be 63 in April. She said that while she has relished her tenure in Anne Arundel, she did not want to commit to the job for four years.
"I think within the last month I've become 100 percent sure, because I knew the closing date was getting closer," Perkins said. "It's been a hard decision for me, because I love the place, I love the people, I love the work and I came here loving the work.
"It's just simply not something I want to do for four years," she said.
Perkins said she made the decision after speaking with family members, and said many county residents had suggested she apply. Up to the application deadline, she gave it considerable thought.
"I really try not to focus so much on the next job. I was really trying to focus on the job I was doing and that was more than enough to be consumed with," Perkins said. "I really didn't put a lot of effort or energy into the 'what ifs' of doing it permanently."
Teresa Milio Birge, school board president, said Friday she is "so thankful that we have had Mrs. Perkins here during this year of transition. She has been a tremendous asset, guiding our system along the path we have set.
"She is a strong leader, and you know exactly where she stands," Birge said. "She has been everything I could have wanted in an interim superintendent, and has shown all of our employees that everything we do should be focused on what's best for our students.
Stacy Korbelak, chair of the ad hoc superintendent search committee, said last week that board members planned to review all applications and recommend up to 12 for interviews. She said officials will conduct interviews in March, and "once we have narrowed down the applicants to between one to three finalists we will have them meet with a panel of stakeholders."
In addition to crafting the school system's budget, Perkins has been at the helm as the school system tackles Common Core State Standards implementation and increased school construction funding. She presided over formation of a 15-person task force that will examine school start times over the next six months. That group will provide a report to the school board in September — for the next superintendent.
"There were days I would get into the car leaving here, and they were such great days — and a great day for me is a day where I feel I've been fully engaged and really involved in all the decisions that help move kids forward," Perkins said.
"Those were the days I would have this self talk all the way home, 'You can do this. You can do this for four years. You'll be fine,'" she said. "It was a very big struggle right up to the end."
Perkins said she has been "honored" Anne Arundel sought her for the interim position. She came after retiring from the Howard County school system, where she applied for the post made vacant when former Superintendent Sydney Cousin stepped down. In that process, Perkins said she initially was told she would not be interviewed but was subsequently called in for an interview.
"The [Howard County school] board was looking to go in a different direction from the direction that I was a part of," Perkins said. "I wasn't the right fit for that. so I retired and moved on."
Perkins has served as a professional development liaison for the University of Maryland Baltimore County, as well as for Goucher College.
She said after her tenure in Anne Arundel is done, she hopes to continue to work in education.
"I would consider whatever the opportunity was," she said. "If not, I also know how to kick back and sit still."