Stuart D. Berger says he won't turn Baltimore County schools upside down when he takes over as superintendent July 1. But if Dr. Berger's record in Wichita, Kan., and in Frederick County is any indication, county educators, students and parents had better tighten their seat belts.
Dr. Berger succeeds Robert Y. Dubel, who served for 16 years, longer than any public school chief among the nation's largest 100 districts. That tenure itself is a tribute to Dr. Dubel. He survived -- and thrived -- by making changes slowly, by politicking effectively in Towson and Annapolis, by keeping on the good side of the teachers union and PTAs and by maintaining tight control of an appointed school board.
Now comes Dr. Berger, fresh from a series of confrontations with an elected board and with many parents and teachers in Wichita. His is an aggressive, no-nonsense management style. He is said not to suffer fools gladly. He expects teachers and administrators to perform, reminding them publicly that the schools are for students, not for those who get paid for working in them.