The Howard County Board of Education unanimously approved Renee Foose to be its new superintendent Thursday afternoon in Ellicott City.
"It's official," said Board Chairwoman Sandra French, after she and Foose signed the four-year contract that will pay $250,000 annually.
The contract signing came in front of a packed boardroom, following a reception for Foose. Several local dignitaries were in attendance, including Del. Guy Guzzone, County Council Chairwoman Mary Kay Sigaty, Councilwoman Jen Terrasa and former Howard superintendent Michael Hickey, who lead county schools for 16 years.
Howard's current superintendent, Sydney Cousin, who is retiring in June after eight years at the helm of the system, was unable to attend the contract signing, French said, because of illness.
"We know you'll continue his legacy, and make a name for yourself," French told Foose.
Foose thanked French and the other board members — and her siblings, Patrick and Debbie Foose, who were in the audience — and said she was excited about getting to work.
"I know I have very big shoes to fill, coming behind Dr. Cousin, and the legendary Mike Hickey," Foose said. "I couldn't be more honored. Thank you to the teachers, the administrators, the entire Howard County school system for selecting me, and thank you to the parents for trusting me to lead your children's education into the future."
Foose, 45, is currently deputy superintendent for Baltimore County schools, a position she has had for a year. Prior to that, she served as director of school performance, director of shared accountability and associate superintendent in Montgomery County. Foose has spent the last 15 years in Maryland public schools.
Foose was offered, and accepted, the position of Howard superintendent March 27, a day after she was announced as one of the two finalists for the job. The second finalist,S. Dallas Dance, currently chief middle school officer of the Houston Independent School District in Texas, was formally appointed as Baltimore County's next superintendent April 10.
The Baltimore Sun has reported that Dance is expected to make $255,000 a year.
When the Howard board approved in December 2011 a list of qualities desired in the next superintendent, members also approved a salary "in the range of" $265,000.
Foose's contract comes with a $700 monthly vehicle allowance and up to $25,000 for relocation costs. As superintendent, Foose, who currently lives in New Market, must reside in Howard County.
Currently, Foose makes $214,000 a year in Baltimore County — $20,000 more than her predecessor there earned. Cousin is currently making $265,000 a year.
The contract also includes salary increases in the range of 2.5 – 5 percent every year beginning July 1, 2013. According to the contract, the amount of the increases will be determined based on Foose's annual performance evaluation, "fiscal realities," the Consumer Price Index for the Washington-Baltimore area and raises given to other system employees.
According to the contract, Foose will receive a raise for each year salary adjustments are negotiated and implemented for teachers.