Flood of applicants competes for job of superintendent


Baltimore officials have decided not to extend the deadline for applications for the position of school superintendent, thanks to a last-minute flood of promising resumes -- including seven or eight from superintendents of larger school districts from all over the East Coast.

By yesterday's application deadline, Baltimore had received 89 applications and expects more to trickle in this week, said Robert G. Wendland, the city's deputy personnel director.

The batch includes resumes from about 10 deputy school superintendents from both Maryland and the rest of the Eastern seaboard. There are about 10 local applicants in all, he said. He would not release the names.

So far about 50 applicants meet the minimum requirements set by the city, Mr. Wendland said. Baltimore's criteria, described in a brochure mailed to prospective applicants, are a master's degree in administration and five years of executive experience in public education or "a satisfactory combination of education and experience."

"We've gotten a good group of applications," Mr. Wendland said. He said the city hopes to narrow the field to 20 to 30 candidates by mid-March and start interviewing candidates around mid-April.

The school board wants a new superintendent in place immediately after Superintendent Richard C. Hunter's contract expires July 31.

Dr. Hunter was told in December that his three-year contract would not be renewed after the mayor announced that he had lost confidence in the chief of the 110,000-student school district.

On Thursday, city officials were considering extending the deadline by a week because there were only 50 applications. But by the time the school board screening committee met Saturday, the picture had changed, Mr. Wendland said.

Mr. Wendland said the applicants include three or four non-educators -- mentioned by Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke as a potentially good source of candidates.

One, according to school and community sources, is William G. Sykes, who in 1979 became the first black president of the state school board.

Mr. Sykes, 54, holds a master's degree in social work and worked as a welfare caseworker and school social worker in Baltimore before becoming deputy secretary of the state Department of Human Resources and state board president. He now heads Sykes and Associates, a consulting firm in Columbus, Ohio.

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