Deputy Superintendent Mamie Perkins, who served as interim superintendent for several months last year when then-Superintendent Sydney Cousin was on medical leave, has retired from the Howard County Public School System.
Spokeswoman Rebecca Amani-Dove said Perkins' retirement was effective Aug. 1; Perkins submitted her retirement notice Monday, July 30.
Perkins, who was with the school system for 26 years, said she would have retired with Cousin at the end of the June had she not already committed to being a part of recently appointed Superintendent Renee Foose's transition.
"I felt responsible to talk to (Foose) and share with her — from the deputy superintendent position — anything she would need to better do the job she was hired for," Perkins said Friday. "That was the way I was thinking.
"It wasn't anything clandestine. I've been working for 39 years, and I think it's OK to retire. I would never have left while (Cousin) was still there, because I was committed to him while he finished his term, and I was committed to the board (to ensure a smooth transition)."
In a statement, Foose, who took over for long-time schools leader Cousin at the beginning of July, said she was grateful to Perkins for easing her transition into the schools.
"She has been an invaluable member of the leadership team for this school system and I am sorry to see her go," Foose said. "I wish her the best as she enters this next chapter in her life."
Foose reassigned the deputy superintendent's duties to other school system leaders. Chief Operating Officer Ray Brown was named deputy superintendent of operations, and will continue to oversee the school system's operations, as well as the Bridge to Excellence and strategic planning.
Chief of Staff Sue Mascaro was given responsibility for policy management and charter schools. Chief Academic Officer Linda Wise will oversee international partnerships.
Filled in for Cousin
Perkins was named deputy superintendent in February 2011, following news that Cousin was diagnosed with lymphoma and had taken a medical leave. Perkins led the county school system during Cousin's months-long absence.
Perkins had been chief of staff since 2005, and had been with Howard schools since 1986. During those years, Perkins served as an elementary Gifted and Talented teacher, coordinator of elementary and health education and head of the Department of Human Resources. Prior to her time in Howard County, Perkins spent 13 years in Baltimore City schools in various positions, including classroom teacher, summer school principal and substitute administrator.
She is the latest in a string of central office administrators retiring from the school system. Other administrators leaving this summer include the director of student services, Pamela Blackwell, director of health services, Donna Heller, public information officer Patti Caplan, and Cousin, who served as superintendent for eight years and had been with county schools for more than two decades.
Those administrators retired with Cousin on June 30, with several months of notice. Perkins is the first person to leave the school system under Foose's leadership.
Perkins said she had not discussed her retirement with Foose prior to her resignation.
"This was my personal decision," Perkins said. "We had not had that discussion, and there was no reason to do that. ... My big thing was to not start the school year, and retire."
Perkins said the school system operates on a 30-day cycle for retirements; had she not retired effective Aug. 1, the next opportunity to do so would have been Sept. 1 — almost a week after the first day of school, Aug. 27.
"(Foose) has her team in place now, and to be up and out once the school year was underway, I didn't think that would be fair to the schools and principals," Perkins said.
Instead of a retirement party, Perkins asked well-wishers to make donations to the schools' Pupil Personnel Fund, an account that directly aids needy students.
"This winter, if a kid needs a coat, or if parents don't have money to buy their child eye-glasses, any extra money will come in handy," Perkins said. "I've been treated well here, and I'm appreciative of that, and this is a small way I could continue to give back."