School board names Martirano as superintendent of Howard schools

The Board of Education Tuesday named Michael Martirano permanent superintendent of Howard County public schools, extending his contract through June 2022. A letter of intent was signed by Martirano and board Chairwoman Cindy Vaillancourt Dec. 19 to begin contract negotiations.

The board’s decision comes eight months after Martirano was selected interim superintendent for a one-year term, replacing former Superintendent Renee Foose, who resigned in May. Martirano’s contract was set to expire on June 30, 2018.

The process to find a permanent superintendent began in August and included forums and public hearings.

During the board’s review of the community’s 2,200 survey responses, board members noted that many people, such as Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman and state officials, supported Martirano staying in the position. Community members noted Martirano’s work to restore communication between the school system and community — an effort which many said dwindled under the Foose administration.

“While we have challenges ahead to address issues, such as prior year deficits and a structural issue with the health and dental fund,” Martirano said Tuesday, “there are opportunities to innovate and ensure that equity in learning remains the top priority.”

Martirano said the school system has “emerged stronger” in the past seven months and will continue in a collaborative effort between the community and stakeholders.

“Dr. Martirano got off to a great start with strong leadership and open, enthusiastic communication with parents, students and staff [and] I’m sure he’ll continue on that course,” Kittleman said Wednesday. “He’s an experienced manager who knows our schools and has a clear vision for making them better every year.”

The father of three returned to Howard County in May to be closer to family, following his wife’s death in 2016. Martirano’s roots in Howard County education date back to his days as teacher and principal in the 1990s and expanded as the school system’s director of elementary school education in 2005. Martirano left the county to become superintendent of St. Mary’s County Public Schools, where he worked until 2014, and then became state superintendent of schools in West Virginia.

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