Members of the Anne Arundel County Board of Education unanimously elected Thomas Twombly and Joseph Foster as their president and vice president, respectively, yesterday.
Each man will serve a one-year term and each said he hoped to see board members work better with one another.
The past year has seen the board become increasingly divisive.
"The most important thing is teamwork," Mr. Twombly said. "I intend to play to the individual strengths of the board members."
Mr. Twombly is beginning his fourth year on the appointed board. Mr. Foster, who is starting his second, said he hoped to see the board improve the way it does business.
The board has been criticized for being plodding and meddling, for putting its most important meeting agenda items at the end of sessions that run past their allotted time, and for starting meetings with lengthy closed sessions.
"I'm hoping there will be a new openness on the part of leadership. I am also hoping they are going to take a look at the way the agenda is set. Hopefully, action items will come first on the agenda," said Carolyn Roeding, president of the county Council of PTAs.
Also yesterday, the board adopted a sexual harassment policy for students and employees, a few lines that say sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that is against state and federal laws.
Board members, however, became concerned about regulations that would implement the policy and sought revisions of those rules, mostly as they apply to students.
Student board member Desira St. Pierre voiced concern that the proposed regulations said students should report sexual harassment to a principal -- and did not state that a trusted teacher or other administrator could be told instead.
Female students might be loathe to report sexual harassment by a man to a male principal, she said.
The board also officially accepted the resignation of Ronald Walter Price, 49, the Northeast High School teacher who admitted having sexual relations with at least six students and faces criminal charges connected to three cases.
He resigned due to "personal reasons," which upset a few board members who felt they should have been able to note what those personal reasons were.