Two turn down mayor's overture for schools post


Two educators who have been approached personally by Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke to consider applying for the job of superintendent of Baltimore schools have told him they will not be candidates.

A third who has been approached by the mayor, Associate Superintendent Walter G. Amprey of Baltimore County, said yesterday that he was not a "active candidate" and would not apply but was willing to be interviewed if the school board approached him.

Mr. Schmoke said he had met with the three educators in an attempt to "get a sense of their interest" in applying for the job. He stressed that although he had passed on to the school board a list of persons he wished the board to consider -- even if they did not apply -- there were no favorites.

"I have taken great pains not to present a lead candidate or suggest to the board that I had a particular person I wanted selected," Mr. Schmoke said. He has said previously, however, that he expects to interview the finalists for the job as he did in the 1988 search that resulted in the hiring of Dr. Richard C. Hunter. The mayor was not happy with Dr. Hunter and announced that his contract would not be renewed.

Meanwhile, the school board committee conducting the search for a new superintendent is considering extending the Monday application deadline by a week in order to attract more applicants, particularly local applicants, said Doris M. Johnson, the school board member heading the screening committee.

About 50 resumes have arrived in response to city advertisements running nationally and in the region, but only a handful are from local applicants, Mrs. Johnson said. The school board and mayor have said they want a superintendent with area ties, someone who is familiar with the city and will carry out existing programs.

Mrs. Johnson said the committee had hoped for more than twice as many applicants but expected to see more as the deadline approached. "I don't believe everyone who's interested has applied," Mrs. Johnson said. "I think some of them are going to wait and see."

Baltimore is one of about 20 major districts around the country shopping for new superintendents. In the Baltimore-Washington area alone, at least five districts are looking for a new leader, including the state's two other major school districts: Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

One of the three educators the mayor has met with in the course of the past two months is Montgomery County's deputy superintendent, Paul L. Vance. Mr. Schmoke said Dr. Vance, who is being sought by several other districts, was interested in remaining in Montgomery County, where he hoped to win the position of superintendent. Dr. Vance, a former deputy superintendent of Baltimore schools, did not return phone calls Wednesday and yesterday.

Dr. Amprey, who is Baltimore County's associate superintendent for the division of staff and community relations, confirmed that he had spoken with Mr. Schmoke earlier this month at City Hall.

He said he was not "an active candidate" but would be willing to interview for the position if approached.

"He had heard my name," said Dr. Amprey, who was a social studies teacher in the city schools from 1966 to 1971 and assumed the duties of assistant principal from 1971 to 1973.

"I was honored that the mayor contacted me to talk about educational issues. . . . I'm interested in education and the kids in Baltimore. I think that a lot more can be done. The situation has been described as hopeless, and I don't think it is."

A school source said the third person contacted by the mayor was Lewis H. Richardson Jr., a retired Baltimore educator who served as deputy superintendent under Alice G. Pinderhughes. Mr. Richardson said he was not an applicant. Asked if he had met with the mayor, he said, "I am not aware of it."

The city hopes to have a new superintendent in place by Aug. 1, when Dr. Hunter's contract expires.

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