Board Hears Parents' Wishes For School Chief

April 15, 1992|By Monica Norton | Monica Norton,Staff writer

Experience, knowledge of the school system, and a commitment to making all students successful seem to be what county residents want in their next superintendent.

About a dozen people came out to Glen Burnie High School on Monday night to tell school board members what they wanted in the next superintendent. Only a few people chose to speak, but all listed similar characteristics.

"We don't need someone who will take two to three years to learn the system," said Rita Brooks, the mother of an Old Mill Middle School student.

Former Superintendent Larry L. Lorton resigned from theschool system in February, just shy of the end of his four-year term. Disputes between Lorton and the board made it unlikely the former superintendent would have had his contract renewed.

Some have attributed his downfall to a lack of familiarity with the school system. Others suggest the problems that arose between Lorton and the board stemmed from his experience as superintendent of the St. Mary's County school system, which is much smaller than Anne Arundel's.

Brooks said she is especially concerned that the board find a superintendent who will address the needs of "African-American students and other minorities."

Citing the small number of minorities in gifted and talented classes and the large number of minorities who consistently score lower than their white counterparts on standardized tests, Brooks said the next superintendent must have specific plans to ensure the success of all students.

"If we don't address the problems of the minority, they will become the problems of the majority," Brooks said.

Morris Johnson, the parent of a Brooklyn Park Elementary pupil and a North County High student, said the next superintendent should ensure his teachers have the same high expectations for minority students as for white students.

Johnson said the next superintendent should work to promote minorities employed by the school system to decision-making positions. He said it is important minority students see successful role models in their own school system.

Jill Christianson, whose year-old daughter is a few years away from entering school, told board members she wants a superintendent who is a strong leader.

Look for a superintendent who can interact with all people, Christianson said. Seek out someone who has spoken out on race, gender andequal opportunity for the disabled -- someone with "a record on human-relations skills."

Monday's meeting was the second the school board has conducted to seek public comment in its search for a new superintendent. Unlike the first hearing in March, Monday's meeting did not become a "nominating convention" for acting Superintendent C. Berry Carter II.

During the first meeting, many who attended let the board know they believed Carter should be the next superintendent.

Carter, who has been with the school system for 38 years, became deputy superintendent in 1974. He said he has not formally applied for the job, but if the board is interested, members know where they can find him.

The board has until July 1 to hire a superintendent for a four-year term.

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