Three deputies out as Howard County schools reshuffle organization

<p>Michael J. Martirano, the interim superintendent of Howard County schools.</p>

Michael J. Martirano, the interim superintendent of Howard County schools.

(Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun)

After nearly two months on the job as interim Howard County schools chief, Michael Martirano has begun reorganizing the central office and empowering six deputies who will report to him.

The superintendent said the changes are intended to reduce redundancy and align talented staff, but he hasn't said how many people will lose their jobs before the reorganization is finished.


A spokeswoman for the school district confirmed three top deputies of former superintendent Renee Foose had their employment end this month. Spokeswoman Joan Fox said she could not discuss the circumstances of the departures.

Chief Accountability Officer Elizabeth Grace Chesney, Chief Financial Officer Beverly Davis and Communications Director John White are no longer employees of the school district, Fox said.


She said only these three administrators and no others have left.

While speaking at a meeting Thursday of the Howard County school board, Martirano said he eliminated these positions. He said the deputy superintendent — a job held by Linda Wise — will be cut too. More changes are coming, he said.

"There will be another phase of reorganization and more than likely another phase after that," Martirano said.

Martirano was tapped to lead the district in May, immediately after the school board agreed to pay Foose a $1.65 million package to step down. She was hired in 2012 and had three years left on her contract. But a tense relationship between Foose and board members worsened this year.

Foose and the school board had been locked in a power struggle after three new members were elected on an anti-Foose platform. With a majority of board members critical of Foose, they passed sweeping measures to expand their authority. Foose sued them, but she subsequently dropped her lawsuit.

The board immediately hired Martirano as her replacement. A former state superintendent in West Virginia, he previously worked in Maryland as superintendent of St. Mary's County schools and director of elementary education for Howard County schools. He received a contract of $270,000 a year.

Upon taking office, he set to work reorganizing the district's central office.

"There is not time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or take in the tranquilizing drug of gradualism," he said Thursday. "We must think with a level of urgency."