Baltimore City Public Schools were at a critical juncture last May when Tisha Edwards was appointed to lead the system on an interim basis.

Over the past half-dozen years, the school system has made steady progress toward improving graduation rates, decreasing school suspensions and increasing scores on standardized tests. And last March, the General Assembly approved an historic $1 billion financing plan designed to renovate or rebuild approximately 50 schools over the next decade.

Ms. Edwards, the top staffer to former school system head Andrés A. Alonso, was a behind-the-scenes force responsible for implementing the nuts and bolts of each of these important initiatives.

I publicly cheered her appointment as interim CEO because I knew that she had the knowledge, skill, heart and determination to build on past successes with an eye toward steady improvement for the system's 84,730 students.

I was disappointed Monday to learn that the school board decided against offering Ms. Edwards the position permanently ("Gregory Thornton announced as new city schools chief," Feb. 18). I think she would have done a fantastic job. Although not my first choice, I pledge to work hand-in-hand with Gregory Thornton to continue the progress made in our city's schools. He certainly has big shoes to fill.

Bernard C. "Jack" Young, Baltimore

The writer is president of the Baltimore City Council.

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