Eastham leaving as Oakland Mills principal

After nine years as principal of Oakland Mills High School in Columbia, Frank Eastham is leaving his post to become the next executive director of school improvement and administration for the Howard County Public School System.

"I have been blessed to watch our school and community instilling pride, respect, responsibility and integrity in this diverse community of students who have already begun to impact the world in transformational ways," Eastham wrote in an email to the school community following his official appointment at the Board of Education meeting Thursday.

Eastham received a standing ovation from those in attendance at the board meeting, including numerous members of the school community. The board unanimously approved his appointment, which Superintendent Renee Foose recommended "with great joy and sadness."

"He has done one fantastic job," Foose said.

Eastham is replacing former executive director of school improvement and administration Bill Ryan, who announced his departure from the school system earlier this month for a promotional position in another district.

Eastham, who was assistant principal at Oakland Mills for three years prior to becoming principal, also said it was "with both sadness and excitement" that he shared the news with the community.

"The number of parents, students, business owners, community organization leaders and faith leaders who have been by my side helping me to guide the work of our school has been too significant to count or properly acknowledge in a personal way," he wrote. "I would not be who I am today without the powerful influence of this entire community."

Eastham will be replaced by Karim Shortridge, who is currently principal at Smithsburg High School in Washington County. The board also unanimously approved his appointment.

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