Harford Schools Superintendent Robert M. Tomback’s management reorganization plans came to life with appointments made to two newly created positions at a school board meeting held June 14 in Bel Air.
William A. Lawrence was named to the highest instructional position in the county, associate superintendent of curriculum, instruction and assessment. Lawrence, who is new to HCPS, will be the only instructional leader reporting directly to Superintendent Tomback under the reorganization plan which takes effect in July. The new executive director of middle school performance will be Barbara P. Canavan, the highly regarded principal of Southampton Middle School.
The Harford County Board of Education voted unanimously to approve both appointments as recommended by Superintendent Tomback.
The Baltimore Sun reported in early February that Lawrence was removed from his post as assistant superintendent for the northwest region of Baltimore County Public Schools, and reassigned to a position in human resources.
Harford Superintendent Tomback, who is a former BCPS colleague of Lawrence, told The Dagger, “I have full confidence in his ability to fill the job and shape the job, which will result in coherent, cooperative measures that will result in improved student achievement and building teacher capacity.”
“The Board was fully apprised of Bill’s long and successful record in Baltimore County, including his recent reassignment, prior to voting on the appointment. The Board is very excited to have someone of Bill’s caliber join the Superintendent’s team, and we look forward to working with him in moving Harford County Public Schools forward,” Mark Wolkow, president of the Board of Education, wrote in an email Tuesday night.
Barbara Canavan’s promotion to executive director of middle school performance separates middle school and high school administration, a job previously combined under David A. Volrath, executive director of secondary education. The top high school spot will be renamed to mirror the middle school title and both Volrath and Canavan will report to Lawrence.
Tomback told The Dagger he was “thrilled” by Canavan’s elevation to the top middle school post, “She’s got the theoretical knowledge and she’s got the every day experience of what middle school can, should, and will be in Harford County Public Schools.”
Shouldn’t the schools be trimming the fat like everyone else? I cannot believe the taxpayers in Harco are not up in arms.
Why the reorganization saves 185,000 in money?
Not from Here says
Balto. Co. Schools Official Is Reassigned
By Liz Bowie | Liz Bowie,firstname.lastname@example.org | February 3, 2010
“A high-ranking Baltimore County school administrator who has been in his job for a decade was removed last week and reassigned to a position in human resources. Bill Lawrence, the assistant superintendent for the northwestern area of the county, confirmed that he was “reassigned,” but would not comment on why the sudden move was made. “I am privileged to continue serving the children and educators of Baltimore County,” said Lawrence, who started his new job Monday. The school district administration declined to comment on the move.”
If he was so successful, why was he removed and no one wants to say why? Peter principle.
In the private sector you get fired, when you work for the government, you get transferred to HR. This should have been a huge red-flag for the BOE.
…so there’s two days of professional development going on for support staff. Chairs were rented. Why couldn’t the unused classroom chairs be used? Speakers were paid. Huh? What about saving the county money?
What a waste of time. Real work could have been accomplished in the central office or school instead of useless sessions…yoga? Planetarium?
Total waste of time! I don’t get it…
And yes why if he (Lawrence) was so successful, why was he removed and it’s hush hush?
Could you eleaborate on this?
As I understand, support staff were required to work on the 17th and 18th. The system basically “invented” stuff for them to do on those days by attending ” breakout sessions” conference style. Many support personel that I know would have happily opted for unpaid furlough days instead. I am sure there are others who were happy to be paid to sit through the conference sessions. Although some of the sessions may have had valuable content, others were questionable.
so where do “the rented chairs” and “paid speakers come from?”
concerned teacher says
What exactly, are the credentials of Mr. Lawrence that make him an expert in curriculum? If he had the background I would think he would have been appointed to the associate superintendent of curriculum in Baltimore County – seems they finaly filled that position. I hope this is not a case of the “good ‘ol boy” system gone awry.
The best news in this article, from the students’ point of view, is the demotion, and reduced responsibility, of Mr. Volrath. Bravo to Dr. Tomback for recognizing Mr. Volrath’s unsuitability for his position, and finally beginning to phase him out.
As for Mr. Lawrence, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and wish him well, and all do what we can to enable his success. And let’s hope that he lets us.
Not from Here says
While I am all for Volrath being demoted, the article seems to say that Volrath will report to Lawrence (rather than the supt) and will not be responsible for middle school any more. That sounds like the same pay for less work to me. Am I misreading something?
concerned teacher says
OK – so now Dr. Tomback and Mr. Lawrence bring another one of the BCPS cast-offs to HCPS – cronies united. I cannot believe the Board of Ed is so disengaged in the appointment process that they do not do a background check on these people! Can we risk our childrens’ education bby hiring people who were released from or removed from a high level job in another system?
The reorganization is interesting. Volrath loses schools and poor Linda Chamberlin still has all 32 elementary schools. How is that fair? Plus, administrators were left off the chart. My friend is an Instructional Facilitator and his position isn’t even on the chart! From what I understand of his work, he is an essential part of the administrative team. Interesting.
good for hcps says
Bill Lawrence is a wonderful addition to HCPS. He has to much professionalism to comment on the recent conterversies in BCPS. The summary is he stands for what is right for children. He will not compromise this. As BCPS brick by brick demolishes their progress by making education about numbers and forgets that they educate children. Mr. Lawrence recognizes the need to increase studnets acheivement while remembering that each child has unique backgrounds and needs. I applaud the board for their appointment.
good for hcps maybe says
Lets not jump the gun here. It is far too early to access the success or the prudence of the Lawrence appointment at this time. The first real test is to see what product he releases concerning the proposed grading system changes. The fact that Tomback was ready to have the school board approve these changes and then had to withdraw the plan at the last minute during a board meeting is disturbing and embarrassing for the superintendent. It sends the signal that he didn’t actually read the flawed policy proposal or did not fully comprehend the serious problems within the proposal. In either case I feel less confident in Tomback’s decision making processes, which include his assessment of management talent within HCPS or those he would like to bring in.
From what I see of the likely winners from the school board election races it will no longer be business as usual on the school board, which will be a much needed improvement. Then we will get an honest and public evaluation of performance on Tomback and Lawrence.