Interim state school superintendent named

The Maryland state school board has chosen an education department official and former local school superintendent as the temporary replacement for Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick, who will retire this month.

Although Bernard J. Sadusky, the former superintendent of Queen Anne's County, could be in the job for only months, he is likely to have significant influence over a series of decisions on sensitive issues, including the new teacher evaluation system that factors in student performance.

Sadusky will begin working closely with Grasmick immediately and will take over on July 1, the day after she retires. Sadusky, 63, has worked in the Maryland State Department of Education as a policy liaison with local school systems since 2007.

Sadusky said that he has no interest in becoming the permanent replacement and that the state school board made that a condition of his taking the job.

"We are going to try to make sure that the things we have committed to happen, and that they happen well," he said.

He said he is concerned about piloting the new teacher evaluation system, which he described as "uncharted territory," and the introduction of the common core standards this coming school year. Maryland is rewriting its standards for what should be taught in schools across the state to reflect new, voluntary national standards.

A state task force is putting together the new evaluation system, which will be tried out in several local school systems before it becomes mandatory. New state law requires that a significant portion of a teacher's evaluation be based on student progress in the classroom, including test scores.

"I think he is a great pick. I think he will do a great job," said Carl Roberts, executive director of the Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland. "I think he will be receptive to the different points of view. I think he will be considerate and he will use a thoughtful process."

He said Sadusky will maintain the close collaboration between the local superintendents and the state board of education.

He said his association did not seek to influence the appointment, but he told Grasmick that because of all the changes coming in the next six months, superintendents did not want a placeholder.

"We said we need a leader, not a manager. We do not need someone to come in and manage the status quo," Roberts said.

Sadusky was named Maryland superintendent of the year in 2007, the year he retired after 30 years in the Eastern Shore school system. He started as a teacher and rose through the ranks to become an administrator and then superintendent.

He lives in Centreville and has two grown children who went through Queen Anne's County public schools.

The state board has put out bids to hire a search firm to find a permanent replacement and is reviewing the submissions it has received, according to William Reinhard, a spokesman for the department. The state board has said it will do a national search to replace Grasmick.

In a statement, Gov. Martin O'Malley said: "Mr. Sadusky understands the state's public education system and I am confident he will expertly lead the system as the search continues for a permanent superintendent."

liz.bowie@baltsun.com

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