Harford to hold school superintendent search input forums Feb. 21 in Bel Air, Aberdeen

The Aegis

The Harford County Board of Education will hold a series of public input forums later this month as part of the search for the school’s system’s next superintendent, the school system announced Thursday.

The forums will be conducted by the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, or MABE, which the Harford board has hired to lead the search to replace Superintendent Barbara Canavan, who has announced her retirement effective June 30. Canavan is in her fifth year as superintendent.

MABE, a lobbying organization that represents the interests of Maryland’s 24 local boards of education, is being paid $29,000 by the Harford board to conduct the superintendent search.

Representatives of MABE are scheduled to provide information on the search process during Monday’s regular school board meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at the A.A. Roberty Building school headquarters in Bel Air.

Two of planned forums will be for HCPS employees and two will be for the general public. All will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 21, at either Aberdeen High School and Patterson Mill High School in Bel Air.

The schedule has the two employee meetings starting at 4:30 p.m. at each location, followed by the general public meetings at each location starting at 6:30 p.m. A snow date is Thursday, Feb. 22, at the same times and locations.

“MABE consultants will work with the board and stakeholder groups to identify necessary qualities and characteristics for the new superintendent,” Thursday’s announcement states. “Once that is accomplished, the consultants will begin advertising and recruiting candidates throughout the country.”

At board meetings and budget sessions held since Canavan’s retirement was announced last month, several speakers have pressed board members on the need for attention to diversity and discrimination issues by the next superintendent.

“The board is committed to a fair and thorough superintendent search. We look forward to reviewing community, student and staff input as we identify the qualities we are looking for in the next superintendent of Harford County Public Schools,” Board President Joseph Voskuhl said in a statement.

To provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to participate, those unable to attend an open forum are encouraged to contact Kathryn Blumsack,, to provide written input, according to Thursday’s announcement.

Listed topics that “should” be addressed, according to the announcement, include: three to four things that show your county is the best place to live, learn and work; four to five qualities/characteristics you would like to see in the new superintendent; one to two major challenges the new superintendent will face; and two to three questions you would like the Board to include in candidate interviews.

For more information, the public can visit the HCPS website,, and click on the “Superintendent Search” button on the homepage.

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