Howard County can leave behind the narrative of just another top-ranked system with demanding citizens who can't get along with school leaders ( "Foose is out in Howard," May 3).
The reality in Howard County was far different, but complex and not easily covered in a few hundred words. Early in former Superintendent Renee Foose's first term, divisiveness was introduced as a tool of control, and that tool eventually impacted the county's PTAs, school system employees and school board. The entire community was impacted by the sides taken for or against the school system's leader as serious but baseless allegations were leveled at school board members seeking accountability, parents seeking public information and students seeking relief from racial incidents.
We should have been alerted during the teachers union's scheduled negotiations early in 2014 when Ms. Foose was quoted repeatedly as saying she didn't want parents to think "teachers were greedy" when asking for their first raise in seven years when no parent was ever quoted as saying any such a thing about Howard County teachers.
Ultimately, we found ourselves being led by an individual who did not deserve the respect of Howard's citizens, so a more responsible board was elected in November to take care of an untenable situation. Citizens woke up today thankful for the new Howard County Board of Education's leadership with the announcement of Ms. Foose's early retirement and the appointment of an interim superintendent, Michael J. Maritano.
We are all looking forward to working together under a leader who has stated his intentions to work with the entire community. That is a great first step, but the next one is equally important: Howard Countians must also refuse to be divided by those who would take advantage of such division in order to weaken the entire community. We will certainly disagree, but we all must remember the lessons learned in the last years — we are always stronger together.
Bonnie Bricker, Elkridge