Baltimore County will hold public forums for input on school superintendent search

Liz Bowie
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

Consultants hired to conduct a search for a new school superintendent in Baltimore County will hold 10 forums to allow the public to comment on what characteristics are most important in a new leader.

The public forums will be held in the morning and evening March 20 through March 22 in five parts of the county. Locations and times have not been announced.

Ray and Associates was recently hired to conduct the search for the new superintendent, who, by state law, must be in place by July 1.

Ray and Associates has also launched an anonymous online survey that will be available for the public to fill out through noon Friday.

The board was criticized at Tuesday night’s board meeting for failing to act more quickly to start the search. The last superintendent, Dallas Dance, who was hired in 2012, announced his resignation in April 2017.

The former board appointed the chief academic officer, Verletta White, to take the job on an interim basis. A year ago, White was named the permanent superintendent until Maryland State Superintendent Karen Salmon, in a rare move, blocked the appointment, saying she had reservations.

Most superintendents for large school systems in Maryland are hired by April.

“We are definitely starting behind the ball in this search,” said Ryan Coleman, vice president of the Randallstown NAACP. He noted that both Joe Hairston, the superintendent from 2000 to 2012, and Dance had been hired before April.

He said the NAACP supports appointing White to the permanent job.

Tom DeHart, executive director of the union representing school administrators, said he is concerned the board has not been transparent with the public about its search process.

Board chair Kathleen Causey declined to discuss the details of the search until Tuesday night when she outlined the public input process.

DeHart called for all the documents related to the search to be made public and for Causey “to be far more transparent in the process.”

The Ray and Associates website lists the Baltimore County school superintendent search as “Coming Soon.”

“We are behind where we should be in this process if we want to ensure true stakeholder involvement,” DeHart said at the meeting Tuesday.

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