The news that the Baltimore city school board is considering David W. Hornbeck as a candidate for city school superintendent is a hopeful sign that the board has decided to expand its search beyond the clique of education professionals who travel from city to city peddling their services like hired guns.
Hornbeck, a lawyer by training, was state schools chief for 12 years, a job he filled with distinction. Currently he is an educational consultant to states and cities on issues of school reform. By all accounts, he is just the sort of person the city ought to be looking at to broaden its list of contenders beyond the five announced earlier, all of whom are current school department insiders or retreads from other failing school districts.
If the goal is to seek out people who have demonstrated pTC competence and a track record of success rather than the stolid ticket-punchers who regularly turn up in searches of this type, considering Hornbeck for the job may be just the tack the board needs in order to find someone who can truly turn Baltimore's troubled school system around.