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After running the Baltimore County school system for two years as interim superintendent, Verletta White will be reporting to a new boss — Darryl L. Williams — as of July 1 when he takes her job.

Her new assignment will be as a consultant to the superintendent, working for one year on teacher retention. The school board voted unanimously Tuesday night on White’s new position. She will resign in July 2020.

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Williams, a longtime Montgomery County administrator appointed in May to lead the school system, was formally introduced to the public at Tuesday’s meeting and gave brief remarks, saying he intended to make changes.

“In every school system, there are outstanding students, staff leaders, community activists and many success stories, but I do know there are challenges that we have to address with a plan of action, and allow data, qualitative and quantitative, to drive our decisions,” Williams said.

Known for his thoughtful, collaborative leadership style, Darryl Williams, Baltimore County's new school superintendent says he wants to build a strong team.

Williams, who did not get the unanimous support of the board, talked about the need for collaboration and shook the hand of every board member afterward.

“My team and I, along with this great school board, must show the collaborative approach to thinking outside the box or simply put to finding innovative ways to deal with our current challenges,” Williams said. “We must raise the bar and close our gap and prepare our students for the future.”

He received applause when he said that every student needs an adult in their school who they can trust.

Interim superintendents like White usually don’t stay in the school system after they have lost out on the permanent job, but in this case White had a clause written into her contract that allowed her to return to her old job or an equivalent position.

Darryl Williams, Baltimore County's new superintendent will earn $290,000 beginning July 1, under a contract approved by the school board Tuesday.

Despite the awkwardness, Williams and White appear to be getting along. At a meeting Tuesday morning, White introduced the new superintendent to a meeting of principals and central administrative staff, then turned and gave him a hug. And at a board meeting a week ago, White said she would try to help him in his transition from Montgomery County, where he is an administrator, to the county school system. “I am working closely with him. I have to say he is one heck of a nice guy,” she said.

Williams said he had several meetings with her and described her as a “very lovely lady. I think it will be positive. I am not concerned about the working relationship. I do acknowledge she led the system over the last two years. I am able to work with people. … I think what she is going to do for this next year, it will be OK.”

White will spend the year studying the recruitment and retention of teachers, particularly in difficult-to-fill areas such as special education, math and science. High teacher turnover is a problem across the nation and in the county, which hires about 900 each year. In a news release, the school system said White “will examine this phenomenon by analyzing data, and meeting with teachers, staff, university partners, and school system officials in BCPS and across the nation. Quarterly, White will provide updates on her findings and make recommendations to the superintendent.”

Superintendents often bring in new top administrators, and Williams acknowledged that he would likely offer jobs to administrators in Montgomery.

Darryl L. Williams, a Montgomery County associate superintendent, was named as the new superintendent for Baltimore County schools Tuesday night.

“I won’t say any names, but there are some folks I am considering,” he said.

When White took the interim superintendent’s job July 1, 2017, she immediately said she wanted to become the permanent superintendent, and she nearly did. Twice the former school board voted to make her superintendent, but that path was blocked by State Superintendent Karen Salmon, who would not approve her.

Salmon said she was concerned about the failure of the school board to conduct an audit of the contracts under Dallas Dance, the previous superintendent. Dance resigned suddenly in April 2017 and was later convicted of four counts of perjury for failing to report on his financial disclosure forms that he had a part-time job with a company that did business with the school system. Dance served four months in jail.

White had also failed to accurately disclose consulting fees she received, saying she misunderstood directions on the forms. She didn’t believe she needed to make the disclosure because the company she consulted for did not do business with the school system. White’s career in the county has spanned two decades in teaching and administrative jobs. She is a graduate of the system, and her children attend county schools. But her critics said she was too closely associated with Dance.

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