The Baltimore County school board filled two high-profile administrative positions last night -- one to boost minority achievement, the other to oversee a $530 million school rehabilitation program -- after difficulties that kept the jobs open longer than expected.
On a unanimous vote, board members appointed James H. Wilson, former principal of Woodlawn High School, as director of minority achievement and multicultural education and named Donald F. Krempel director of the system's physical facilities department -- both effective today.
Education officials had been trying to fill the sensitive positions for months.
Joining Wilson's staff will be Barbara S. J. Dezmon, who rejected the minority achievement director position recently, pointing to concerns over the position and program.
It was unclear why Dezmon would have rejected the top job in the office and then assume a lesser role. Dezmon could not be reached to comment late last night.
Wilson declined to specify Dezmon's role. "All I know is that I will have an expert on my staff," he said. Dezmon helped write the state's first report on minority achievement.
Wilson said he hopes to involve the entire community in defining his job and his goals through a summit.
He said his plans are backed by Superintendent Anthony G. Marchione and Deputy Superintendent Elfreda W. Massie.
"I want to talk with community members, students and parents to see what works for them and what's not working and try to come up with a common solution," said Wilson, whose salary in the new job was not available last night.
Krempel, who has served as interim director of physical facilities for the past four months, said his first goal in the $103,500-a-year job will be to set priorities for school construction and repair projects.
He said he doesn't want to repeat mistakes, including cost overruns on school construction projects and questionable bidding practices.
"I want to see strong, effective interface between the facilities staff, contractors and consultants to ensure success of the capital program," he said shortly before the board's vote.
It took longer than school officials expected to fill the top administrative positions.
They thought they'd completed the task Aug. 10, when they appointed Dezmon special assistant to the superintendent for minority achievement and Richard Hawes associate superintendent for physical facilities.
But Dezmon and Hawes unexpectedly turned down the jobs later in the month.
Hawes accepted a promotion in the Montgomery County school system, where he has worked for the past 13 years. At the time, he said his decision to reject Baltimore County's employment offer had nothing to do with money and that he wanted the opportunity to work with Montgomery County Superintendent Jerry D. Weast for the next four years.
Unhappy with job
Dezmon has said she wasn't happy with the minority achievement job description because it would have required her to continue her duties as an executive assistant to Massie and pick up new responsibilities.
She said she also worried that she would not have adequate funds or staff to enact systemwide changes.
Pub Date: 9/08/99