One of the most important duties of a school board is the selection of a superintendent. After the sudden passing of Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas, the Harford County Board of Education appointed an interim superintendent and has now hired the Maryland Association of Boards of Education to assist them in a nation-wide search to be concluded no later than July 1, 2009. But there’s plenty of interest in the job right here at home.
Probably not from Executive Director of Elementary Education Pat Skebeck, who got the job of interim superintendent in the days after Haas’ untimely death. Skebeck is nearing retirement and not a likely candidate.
But sources say several members of the senior staff are interested in the permanent post, which should make the next six months interesting. Especially in light of budget cuts, secondary school reform, redistricting and the controversy surrounding Campus Hills Elementary School.
In time, we’ll see who ends up with one of the highest paid public jobs in the state, managing a system of nearly 40,000 students, with a combined budget exceeding half a billion dollars. More importantly, we will see whether or not the school board makes the right decision for Harford County Public Schools. That can be tricky, as the school board well knows.
Remember the short but not-so-sweet tenure of Jeff Grotsky who was such a poor fit for Harford County, the Board bought out Grotsky’s contract after just 18 months. Grotsky quickly got another job in Baltimore, but pocketed six figures on his way out the door. Nice work for Grotsky. Not so much for the taxpayers.
Of course the school board will try to make the best selection possible. But insulating board members from the voters is not the way to ensure they are accountable for their decisions either way. Now more than ever, we have a reminder of the important work of the Harford County Board of Education and why its members should be elected by the public they serve.
What qualities should the school board look for in a superintendent? The public ought to have a say, so let’s hear your comments Dagger readers.