Barbara Canavan Named Harford County Public Schools Interim Superintendent; One-Year Term Begins July 1 When Tomback Leaves

From Harford County Public Schools:

The Board of Education of Harford County named current Executive Director of Middle School Performance Barbara P. Canavan as interim superintendent of Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) today, May 13, 2013, to fill the vacancy that will be left by Dr. Robert M. Tomback at the conclusion of his four-year term on June 30, 2013. Mrs. Canavan will serve a one-year term as interim superintendent from July 1, 2013,to June 30, 2014.

Mrs. Canavan is a graduate of Mount Saint Mary’s College with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a minor in secondary education and French. She received her Master of Arts in Middle School Education from Columbia University Teachers College and a Master of Arts Equivalency in Administration and Supervision from Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland.

Her career in the field of education began in 1970 as an elementary school teacher at the Sacred Heart School in Brooklyn, New York. In 1973, she made the move to the Harford County Public School System, serving as an assistant middle school teacher at Aberdeen Middle School before accepting a position as assistant principal at Edgewood Middle School in 1978. She moved on to become the assistant principal at Magnolia Middle School in 1983. After serving six years at Magnolia Middle, in 1989, Ms. Canavan accepted an assistant principal position at Southampton Middle School where she became principal in 1991 and remained there for the next 19 years. As the principal of Southampton Middle School, Mrs. Canavan encouraged openended dialogue in order to assess the needs of the students, the staff and the community. Her active leadership and good judgment in working with all stakeholders allowed her to develop positive relationships and conduct ongoing programs to support student achievement. Upon being named the executive director of middle school performance in 2010, Mrs. Canavan assumed the responsibility of the direction of curriculum development and instructional programming. While serving in this role, she has been able to gain a global perspective of school system management serving the needs of students and staff throughout the county.

“Mrs. Canavan is celebrating 40 years of dedicated service and commitment to the students and staff of Harford County Public Schools as a teacher, administrator and executive director,” Board of Education President Rick Grambo commented. “As a Board, we are confident in her abilities to lead this school system and community through this time of transition as the interim superintendent, and we look forward to working with her to move forward with our mission to prepare all of our students to succeed academically and socially.”

Mrs. Canavan has served on and chaired many committees and task forces in Harford County, which have been instrumental in determining policy and procedure as well as the vision and mission of HCPS. She has presented key education topics at the local, state and national levels. As vice president, president and chief negotiator for the Association of Public School Administrators and Supervisors of Harford County (APSASHC) for 19 years, Mrs. Canavan was able to develop a keen understanding and appreciation for the collective bargaining process.

“As a professional educator and resident of Harford County, I have been afforded a myriad of experiences which have prepared me to serve our community as Interim Superintendent,” stated Mrs. Canavan. “I am committed to working collaboratively with all stakeholders to afford all students optimal opportunities to realize their full potential; to ensure that our workforce is superior in both talent and moral fiber; and, to safeguard the efficacious management of fiscal matters.”


  1. Wally Brenton says

    Excellent choice, she is well qualified for this position.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1
  2. Former employee... says

    So, so happy to hear this. She is well qualified, a county resident, and has a vested interest in restoring Harford County Public Schools to the status it deserves.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 20 Thumb down 2
  3. Marks 8th Cousin In-Law says

    Great move. Mrs. Canavan is the best of ther best. Very happy for you Barbara.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1
  4. Marks 8th Cousin In-Law says

    Great move. Mrs. Canavan is the best of the best. Very happy for you Barbara.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2
  5. Marks 8th Cousin In-Law says

    @ugly- really come on If she is a good Superintendent then who cares what she looks like. This woman has dedicated her life to educaction for 40 years. Probably more then you have done in a week. If you think looks matter then maybe you should look in the mirror tomorrow morning. People seem to be so judgemental now a days, maybe take a chill pill and appreciate her 40 years of service. In the mean time please stop bashing a woman that has dedicated nearly her whole life to the kids in our county. You make me sick, again Barbara Canavan I am happy for you and you should be proud of your career and your future.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1
  6. Big Man says

    Was there really any other choice? She had dedicated her entire career to Harford County. She knows everyone in the system and their strengths and weaknesses. Let’s get it on!

    Well-loved. Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1
    • Andrew says

      By the very definition, advanced students should be doing more homework than the average students. If your child can’t handle the work load, drop them down to the level they belong in.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 20 Thumb down 1
  7. Wally says

    Do not understand why the Board would conduct a search for a new superintendent … they have the best right now

    Well-loved. Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1
  8. Hawke says

    Could not be happier! This is an excellant choice and she will serve the interests of HCPS and Harford County very well. I just hope the board sees this and offers her a 4 yr. contract. In a time when the county is struggling for money – save the time and money wasted in a search – Mrs. Canavan is the right person to lead HCPS!

    Well-loved. Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1
  9. says

    Lets hope she cares enough about teachers to pay them, and to look towards more wasteful parts of the system to find that money.

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    • Kharn says

      The job of an executive is not to pay employees more, it is to get the maximum benefit for the minimum cost.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 5
      • Cdev says

        While reminding themselves that Human Resources is named that because the employees are a resource and need to be treated as such. If you are not paying a competitive wage quality will suffer!

        Well-loved. Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
        • Kharn says

          Licensed teachers should be fungible. If one proves to not be able to meet expectations, terminate their employment and refer them to the licensing authority to have their license reexamined.

          A lawyer, doctor, engineer, architect, nurse, CPA, etc, runs into serious trouble if they fail to uphold the standards of their license. Why should a teacher be any different?

          We’re at a ridiculous un-/under-employment rate in this country today, there are other prospective employees salivating for the teaching jobs that would be freed up by kicking the bad apples to the curb.

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          • Cdev says

            upholding the liscence standards and being excellent are two different things. You can have a pool operators liscence and still be a horrible pool manager even though you have done nothing to violate the liscence standards. If you want the best you pay for quality. The Post had an article on this last sunday.

            BTW we are 17th behind countries which do not educate special needs people and kick 70% of their students out of school in 6th grade!

            Well-loved. Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1
          • Kharn says

            So should we pay everyone as if they were excellent, or only those that are excellent?

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  10. Sam Adams says

    Southhampton Middle School was notorious for grade inflation under her reign. Expect a lot of show and little substance.

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  11. Reality says

    Sam Adams….isn’t that the public school mantra?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 8
  12. Citizen says

    Sam, SMMS has had some of the best standardized test scores in the state and this state has one of the best school systems in the country. How, then, can the students grades be inflated? BTW, an alphabet grade tells you nothing about what the student knows or can do. Ms. Canavan has been and will continue to be one of the best hires in HCPS history.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1
    • SickasWell says

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Poorly-rated. Thumb up 1 Thumb down 12
      • SickasWell says

        wow…truth hurts! guess everyone is happy being behind 3rd world countries in education! wonder where the thumbs down people work in this county!!! keep denying the failed system…hopefully we’ll keep getting more immigrant phds’ to help keep the US on top.
        Think I’m wrong then research the H-1B Visa program. inform yourself! Public Education = FAIL

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  13. TOY says

    I am so happy for Barb Canavan. She is so deserving. I pray she gets a 4 year contract. She is what Harford County needs. Barb, I am your biggest fan. Look at my name. Just saying.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0
  14. Realist says

    I am confused. She has been in charge of middle schools for the last couple of years and I have only seen her at MMS maybe twice and we are a failing school. I hope she does more as SUPERINTENDENT because I don’t care how long she has been in the county if she is ineffective. We shall see.

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