Over the past several weeks, people have asked me: “Do you still want the permanent job of Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent?”
That question is typically followed by heart-felt and genuine sentiments of sympathy and support. You see, as a product of Baltimore County as a student, and as a teacher and administrator, people know me and they know my reputation — who I am and that for which I stand. They know my integrity, and they also know that it is not for sale.
So, my answer to that question is always an unequivocal “yes.” “Yes,” not because of the salary or because of the title, as those things have never inspired me. What motivates me is my purpose to honor my God-given gift of teaching and connecting with ALL students, regardless of their backgrounds or ZIP codes.
Ultimately, my service to students is my primary motivator. The work that I do is and has been about service. I serve children. I serve their families. I serve our amazing teachers, parents, administrators and community members.
I am sure there are those who will continue to question my ethics, regardless of my admission of making an honest mistake — by neglecting to disclose income earned as a consultant for an education company that does not do business with the school system — as well as those who will decide that this piece and other gestures of outreach are contrived. To those, I say that I understand and appreciate your concerns, but I want to assure you that my engagement is genuine and BCPS remains a premiere school system.
I am committed to maintaining a high-quality program for every student. For those who have shared in this wonderful educational journey with me, I say, “thank you.” Thank you for serving students alongside me, for your dedication to children and for your commitment to educating our students to be college and career ready.
Having said that, I ask the citizens of Baltimore County to join in this incredible work with me, to prepare this generation to read, write, think, compute and behave in socially acceptable ways. I share our community’s focus on preparing every student to walk across the stage at graduation, just like I proudly did at Woodlawn High School.
Beyond the diploma, I often talk about offering every student a “gift with purchase.” Graduation is our reasonable service to students, but we must also ensure that “something extra” that helps prepare our students for success in the real world. To that end, I am passionate about expanding student access to college credits, industry credentials, workforce experiences, world language proficiency, international travel and mentorships among other opportunities. This is the legacy I continue to champion for our students, and I am hopeful that you will join me in sharing in my love, my purpose and my service to BCPS.
Verletta White is the interim superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools. She can be reached at www.bcps.org/offices/super/contact.asp.