The Anne Arundel County school board voted Wednesday to solicit proposals from three outside firms, including the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, in its search for a new superintendent.
The county school system is seeking a permanent replacement for Kevin Maxwell, who stepped down in June to take a similar position in Prince George's County. Anne Arundel subsequently named former Howard County Deputy Superintendent Mamie Perkins as its interim superintendent.
The next permanent superintendent of the 78,000-student school system is expected to take office July 1.
The board approved a recommendation by its three-member ad hoc Superintendent Search Committee to select among the firms regularly used by Maryland school districts.
The other two are Iowa-based Ray and Associates, which led Howard County's last search and is currently conducting Baltimore City's search; and Illinois-based Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, which led Montgomery and Baltimore counties' last searches.
Anne Arundel officials also considered conducting the search in-house, but officials rejected that idea.
In other local jurisdictions looking for a permanent superintendent, Harford County schools spokeswoman Teri Kranefeld said its school board is working to establish the process that will be used in the superintendent search.
Bill Middleton, lead consultant for superintendent search services for the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, said the firm conducted Anne Arundel County's search for Maxwell. Middleton said the association is currently conducting searches in Talbot and Somerset counties, and last year conducted searches in Charles and Kent counties.
Anne Arundel board member Stacy Korbelak, who chairs the ad hoc search committee, said the school system has some money available to fund the search — namely the $20,000 penalty Maxwell paid to leave because his contract had not yet expired; and the difference between Maxwell's final salary and what the system is paying Perkins, which amounts to about $60,000.
"We will not need to ask [the County] Council for any additional money" to conduct the search, Korbelak said.
Baltimore City is paying Ray and Associates $46,800 plus expenses to conduct its search. Howard County paid the firm $31,000 for its last search. Baltimore County paid Hazard, Young, Attea a total of $35,000 plus expenses for its last search.
Middleton said Charles County paid the Maryland Association of Boards of Education $23,000 for its last search.
Anne Arundel officials said Wednesday that proposals are due from the firms Oct. 21; the board will select the firm by Nov. 1.
School officials said whichever firm is selected will gather input for criteria this fall and begin screening applicants during the winter. Interviews would begin in the spring, officials said.
Korbelak said the committee met with officials from Howard, Montgomery and Baltimore counties to discuss their experiences, and also met with former Anne Arundel board members who took part in the search for Maxwell. None of the current board members were on the panel at the time.
Korbelak said applications will be screened by the entire board by early March of next year, and the panel should anticipate reviewing about 50 applications. In-person interviews will come after the field is narrowed to about six applicants; the interviews should be completed by early April.
Korberlak said the board also requested input from the County Council, the county executive and state delegates. Among those in attendance at Wednesday's meeting was council member Jerry Walker. Members said Walker was the lone member to respond to requests for input.
Also on Wednesday, the school board unanimously approved interim Superintendent Mamie J. Perkins' $192.1 million fiscal year 2015 capital budget request — but not before hearing from about 140 Crofton residents who filled the meeting room to implore officials to build a high school there.
The group, calling itself Build Crofton High School, is seeking to keep their children close to home for high school and say a new school is needed to address steady growth in the area.
Walker, a Republican who represents Crofton, applauded the group's support and told the school board, "The population of Crofton demands a Crofton high school and, as evidenced by the number of people here, the community is very supportive."
Crofton resident Jonathan Boniface suggested such a school could honor one of Crofton's most well-known residents.
"Crofton is the birthplace of Johns Hopkins," Boniface said. "What better way to memorialize him than to build a Johns Hopkins High School in Crofton with a medical signature program?"