Hundreds of experienced teachers and administrators in Baltimore County, many of them products of a hiring boom in the 1950s and '60s, are coming of retirement age and leaving the system, but few seem to fear a "brain drain" in county schools.
At least 164 Baltimore County teachers and administrators will retire this year, about 25 more than the average over the past decade, said Helen E. Eder, a specialist in the office of retirement.
The jump this year may also be due to the fact that with teachers at the end of a three-year contract, with no pay raise next year and with retirement benefits based on one's highest salary, many eligible educators are deciding that now is as good a time as any to get out.
Baltimore County educators see pluses and minuses in the fact that retiring administrators and teachers, many with more than 30 years of experience, are being replaced by people who may have fewer than 20.
"It's not going to devastate us in any way," said George T. Gabriel, director of the Department of Research and Evaluation for Baltimore County schools. "What we will lose is experience, there's no question about that. What we'll gain is some more energy and youth and probably a lot of folks better able to cope with changes."
"It's not like they're just pulling in people off of the street," said teachers' union president Ed Veit. "It's good to bring in young people to keep the system young. I think it's important that they have teachers young enough to identify with kids in schools."
Baltimore County likes to hire from within its school system, said Rosalie Hellman, president of the school board. So while the personnel might seem inexperienced compared with the long-time administrators they are replacing, most have worked in the county system in other positions for many years, she said.
Officials said that the people replacing retired school administrators and teachers are well prepared for the challenges.