Harford school superintendent shares parting thoughts

After four years as the head of Harford County Public Schools, Superintendent Robert Tomback sat in his final Board of Education meeting this week.

He gave some brief parting remarks while delivering his final Superintendent's Report Monday.

"For the past four years, I've had the professional and personal privilege to lead a school system that is characterized by wonderful boys and girls, young men and women, terrifically dedicated and talented staff and a community that cares," he said.

Tomback also thanked members of the school board, the school system's "leadership team," school-based administrators and support staff, from plumbers to bus drivers.

He noted the words "Inspire. Prepare. Achieve," that are part of the school system's logo, words developed by a C. Milton Wright High School student.

He said they "will continue to be the words and the thoughts and power, that will continue to drive this school system."

Tomback announced in February that he would step down as of the end of June, when his contract with the school system ended, to "pursue other opportunities."

Barbara Canavan, a former principal of Southampton Middle School and the school district's current executive director of middle school performance, was named interim superintendent in May.

Canavan's one-year term will begin Monday, and she will direct the school system while school board members seek a permanent superintendent.

Board members lauded Tomback for his service over the past four years; the Baltimore County resident began his term of service in Harford on July 1, 2009.

Board President Francis "Rick" Grambo kidded Tomback about running for school board in his home county.

"We wish you all the best in your future endeavors," Grambo told Tomback sincerely.

Eight of the nine current board members were elected or appointed to their seats after Tomback was hired; Alysson Krchnavy, who has been a board member since 2008, is the only person left of the board that hired Tomback.

"It's been a very interesting almost-year for me and I'm sure its been a very interesting four years for you," member Thomas Fitzpatrick, who was appointed in 2012, told Tomback.

Member Arthur Kaff, who has also been on the board for less than a year, thanked Tomback for "your service, your dedication and your leadership to the Harford County public school system."

Members Cassandra Beverley, Robert Frisch, Joseph Hau, James Thornton and Vice President Nancy Reynolds, have all served since 2011.

Beverley said: "Dr. Tomback, I certainly have enjoyed the two years that I have been on the board. I know about your commitment to children and it's been a wonderful thing to witness on a first-hand basis."

Hau said: "Thank you Rob, for all you've done, your contributions; it's been a pleasure working with you and we really appreciate it."

Frisch said: "While we haven't agreed on a lot of things, I know that in your heart, in your mind, that you were doing the best that you thought you were in a position to try do for the system, and I always appreciate the fact that you gave that your all."

Thornton said: "I think, without exception, you've had a very quick turnaround time [with requests for information]; the reports have generally been very much in depth in terms of the analysis and I think that speaks very highly of the tone that you've set, relative to the expectations from staff."

Reynolds said: "I think one of the ways you can really tell about a person's character is the way they interact with children, and I need to commend Dr. Tomback for his dedication and the way he treated children in this county."

Krchnavy commended Tomback for his efforts to recognize students.

"That's huge, because that's what this is all about," Krchnavy said. "That's what encourages kids to stay in school and to stay engaged and be amazing, and it's what our teachers do every day and we had a leader that modeled that."

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