The superintendent of Carroll County Public Schools announced Friday he will not seek another term after his contract ends in June.
Steve Lockard, who has served as Carroll’s superintendent since 2018, made the announcement on Friday afternoon in an email to parents.
“In reflection, I am making a decision to step back and refocus more of my time with my family, and seeking out other professional opportunities,” he said in the email.
Lockard said later, in an interview via email, that he will look for professional opportunities that will allow him to be more available to his family.
Ed Singer, former health officer for Carroll County Health Department, also made the decision to find a new job this year. In an interview about Singer’s October departure, Lockard said the two communicated constantly, often beyond business hours. Dealing with the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the two county leaders would often speak on evenings, weekends and sometimes holidays “because the pandemic doesn’t know boundaries of the workday,” Lockard said at the time.
As leaders, both made decisions not everyone liked, Lockard said. The superintendent added that he gives Singer “all the credit in the world” for how he handled pandemic-related challenges.
In his letter, the superintendent said he was honored to serve the school system these past four years. He said the system includes talented and dedicated employees, outstanding students and engaged parents and community members. He remains committed to supporting the system through the end of his current term, he added, and will do everything he can to support the transition for whoever takes his place. His annual salary is $231,066.
Marsha Herbert, president of CCPS’s board of education, also sent a letter Friday afternoon about Lockard’s decision.
“We were saddened to learn of his decision and feel it is a great loss for our school system,” she said in the letter. “Dr. Lockard has served us well over the last four years and has led this school system through some of the most difficult times we have ever faced.”
She added Lockard brought new initiatives to the school system and did “an incredible job” leading the school community through the pandemic.
“Thanks to his efforts, Carroll County Public Schools has led the state in bringing students back into the classroom,” Herbert said in the letter.
She also noted the board will start the process of gathering community input and searching for a new superintendent in the coming weeks or months.
Lockard said in an interview via email that his contract stipulates he must let the board of education know by Feb. 1 of his fourth year whether he is interested in continuing his contract for another four years.
He said he made the announcement earlier than needed because, “I believe it is important that enough time is allowed for a search process. I don’t believe waiting until the beginning of February would provide the kind of time necessary.”
Lockard was no stranger to Carroll County when he became the superintendent.
He was born and raised in Westminster and attended Robert Moton Elementary School, East Middle School and Westminster High School. His father, Brian Lockard, also served as superintendent of CCPS from 1994 to 1998.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in Education/Early Childhood Education from Frostburg State University in 1992, a master’s in School Administration from Western Maryland College, now known as McDaniel College, in 1998, and a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Maryland in 2013.
After graduation, he took a position in neighboring Frederick County as an elementary school teacher where he became an assistant principal, principal, director of elementary schools and Title I programs, associate superintendent for elementary school improvement, instruction and administration and deputy superintendent.
He was also the deputy superintendent and interim superintendent in Fairfax County, Va., from 2010-2014.
“I can’t thank the entire CCPS community enough for their investment and advocacy in supporting our system, especially over the last two years of significant challenges,” Lockard said in the email. “Our teachers, administrators, support employees, and all of our staff are incredible. I remain indebted to their dedication, commitment, and the tireless work on behalf of students.”